Dr Salim A Salim Archive: Window of good diplomacy and leadership

Dr Salim Ahmed Salim

What you need to know:

  • He is a visionary person who epitomises what one can achieve when dedicated to serving a nation and a continent at large.

“We should aim for an Africa that is free, an Africa that takes care of its responsibilities, an Africa where our young people, who are the majority, feel they have a future,” said Dr Salim Ahmed Salim in December 2014.

Dr Salim is one of the best diplomats Tanzania has ever had.

One of the most memorable moments in Tanzania this year was when our President, Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan, unveiled a digital archive dedicated to the illustrious life and career of Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim. That archive immortalises his vast contributions to Tanzanian diplomacy in particular and pan-Africanism at large.

It also provides a comprehensive insight into his multifaceted life, resonating deeply with those who cherish the ideals of unity, progress, and diplomacy.

To further honour Dr Salim’s legacy in Tanzanian diplomacy, President Samia Suluhu Hassan renamed the Centre for Foreign Relations (CFR) as the Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim Centre for Foreign Relations. Yes, Dr Salim’s commitment to Tanzania and the African continent at large was unwavering and profound.

Perusing the archives, one is immediately impressed by the scope of his contributions. Born in the then-Sultanate of Zanzibar in 1942, his journey is marked by his dedication and the exemplary services he delivered.

His diplomatic tenure saw him serve as a country representative in various countries, notably Egypt, India, and China. He made significant contributions, further elevating the status of our country at the global level.

At the United Nations (UN), he made an indelible mark, presiding over key sessions, amplifying Tanzania’s voice, and steering discussions towards the benefit of the international community. His tenure as Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU), from 1989 to 2001 remains legendary.

During these years of his service, he passionately championed African unity, skillfully navigating the organisation through challenging periods and solidifying its role in global geopolitics.

The archive is not merely a collection of photographs, documents, or official records but also harmoniously integrates the personal with the professional, providing a holistic view of the public figure of Dr. Salim and the man behind the scenes.

From insightful interviews that elucidate his philosophies to notable entries capturing his perspectives on global events, the archive provides a comprehensive glimpse into his intellect and passions. For instance, the archive highlights his unwavering stance against the oppressive apartheid regime in South Africa. Through various interviews, he showed his deep commitment to justice, equality, and freedom.

His calls for intensified global action against the apartheid regime exemplify his broad vision of a free, united, and progressive Africa.

Equally compelling are his milestones documented in the archive. His emotional farewell to the OAU, his inaugural visit to a transforming South Africa on the eve of its historic elections, and his appointment as Prime Minister by our founding father, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, at the tender age of 42 offer a profound understanding of how potential Dr. Salim was.

History will also remember him as the first person from Zanzibar to receive this great honor. This significant moment emphasises his distinction and dedication to inclusivity and representation.

This archive, which is a collaboration between his family and the Tanzanian government, is a fitting tribute to the moments that defined his life.

According to his son, Ahmed Salim, the essence of the archive is its potential to guide future generations by offering invaluable lessons and examples.

Going through the digital repository, it is evident that Dr Salim’s legacy extends beyond that of a diplomat or a leader.

He is a visionary person who epitomises what one can achieve when dedicated to serving a nation and a continent at large.