Nyerere biography and what it means

Former Tanzania President Julius Kambarage Nyerere. PHOTO | FILE

Summary

  • Bank of Tanzania (BoT)  hosted a programme of the introduction and open discussion in honour of 100th years birthday of Father of the Nation which was marked on April 13.

Dar es Salaam. Tanzanians have been invited to get insights into Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere’s visions and journey in the building and development of the nation through the most comprehensive biography of his life written by three prominent scholars.

The biography titled Development as rebellion: a biography of Julius Nyerere, consists of three volumes penned by Prof Saida Yahya-Othman, Dr Ng’wanza Kamata, and Prof Issa Shivji, each leading as an author in an individual volume.

Although the book has already been launched, Bank of Tanzania (BoT) yesterday hosted a programme of the introduction and open discussion in honour of 100th years birthday of Father of the Nation which was marked on April 13.

Speaking during the event, Prof Yahya-Othman, who is the lead author in volume one of the biography under the title The Making of a Philosopher Ruler, she said the first volume mainly focuses on Nyerere’s youth, education, and private life which in its overall reflected the rebellious nature that made him be the way he was.

“Due to his behaviour to stand on what he believed was right and just, Mwalimu can be seen as a rebel who challenged the systems since his childhood,” she said.

Prof Yahya-Othman shared how in the book, Nyerere challenged his secondary school leadership approach, his views on religion hierarchy and how in so many occasions he resigned from political positions when he saw things not going in the right direction.

Becoming a Nationalist, is volume two of the biography with lead author being Dr Ng’wanza Kamata.

It depicts the struggle for independence and Nyerere’s efforts in nation-building.

“It was not all smooth sailing with his journey, there were some very difficult moments in his life, thus the book highlights some setbacks faced before, during and after independence,” he said.

Prof Issa Shivji was the lead author penning the third volume of the biography under the title Rebellion Without Rebels, and it concentrates on Nyerere’s version of socialism.

“Reading this biography is like taking a ride through the political journey and its history of Tanzania before we gained independence. Because when we talk about the political history, you talk about Mwalimu Nyerere and you can’t differentiate the two,” said Prof Shivji.

Several African leaders and scholars commented the biography. The leaders included former South African President Thabo Mbeki who said the work will give readers concrete account of Mwalimu’s thinking which informed his actions as a statesman, libration fighter and Pan-Africanist.