Former Tanzanian leader “Julius Nyerere” honored by African Union statue

Tanzania’s founding father Julius Nyerere has been honoured with a statue outside the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

Nyerere led what is now Tanzania from independence in 1961 until 1985.

Known as Mwalimu, Swahili for teacher, he was a committed pan-Africanist and hosted independence fighters opposed to white minority rule in southern Africa.

He played a key role in the creation of the Organisation of African Unity, which later became the African Union.

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Unveiling the statue at a ceremony attended by numerous African heads of state, AU Commission leader Moussa Faki Mahamat said: “The legacy of this remarkable leader encapsulates the essence of Pan Africanism, profound wisdom, and service to Africa.”

He recalled Nyerere’s own comments at the inaugural OAU summit in 1963. “Our continent is one, and we are all Africans.”

But when he became prime minister of what was then Tanganyika in 1961, his first task was to unite the new country, made up of more than 120 different ethnic groups, including Arab, Asian and European minorities.

He managed to do this, by promoting the use of Swahili as a common language and through his vision of “African Socialism” or ujamaa (familyhood).

In 1964, Tanganyika united with the Zanzibar archipelago to form Tanzania.

It later became a one-party state. Nyerere defended the absence of multi-party elections by declaring that Tanzanians had far more freedom under him than they had ever had under British rule, and that the one-party system was vital for stability.

Source : BBC News

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