Mwalimu Julius K. NYERERE (Chairman, 1995-1999)

Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, United Republic of Tanzania, is the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania (1964-1985) and the first Chairman of the South Centre.

He was known as Mwalimu, the Swahili word for « teacher » in reference to his profession prior to politics.

Mwalimu was born in Butiama Village near Lake Victoria and walked 26 miles to begin primary school in Musoma at the age of 12. He obtained his secondary education at the Tabora Government Secondary School and was offered a scholarship to study at Makerere University in Uganda where he obtained a Teacher’s Diploma. He also obtained a Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1952. He taught at Tanzanian schools before he was forced by the colonial authorities to either continue teaching or give up his political activities.

He was the founder member and first (and only, as he was constantly re-elected) President of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). As President of TANU, he campaigned throughout the country for independence from colonial rule. He spoke on behalf of TANU to the Trusteeship Council and Fourth Committee of the United Nations in New York in 1954.

Mwalimu was elected in 1958 as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the first elections in which Africans had a vote. He subsequently became the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. In 1960, he became the Chief Minister of the first Internal Government Administration of Independent Tanganyika. He was Prime Minister of the first Government of Independent Tanganyika in 1961 and was elected Tanganyika’s first President when it became a Republic in 1962. He became President of the United Republic of Tanzania when Tanganyika and Zanzibar were united in 1964. Mwalimu was the founder member and Chairman of Chama Cha Mapinduzi, which was formed by a merger of TANU and the Afro-Shiraz Party of Zanzibar, from 1977-1989.

From 1987 to 1990, he served as the Chairman of the South Commission, a commission of independent high-level experts from the South set up by developing countries to review the South’s development experience and make recommendations on the development strategy for developing countries in the post-Cold War arena. He then became the first Chairman of the Board of the South Centre, the intergovernmental policy research organization of developing countries which succeeded the South Commission

Mwalimu held numerous honorary degrees from: Edinburgh (UK), Duquesne (USA), Cairo (Egypt), Nsukka (Nigeria), Ibadan (Nigeria), Monrovia (Liberia), Toronto (Canada), Howard (USA), Jawaharlal Nehru (India), Havana (Cuba), Lesotho, the Philippines, and Fort Hare University (South Africa). He was Chancellor of the University of East Africa (1963-1970), Chancellor of University of Dar-es-Salaam (1970-1985) and Chancellor of Sokoine University of Agriculture (1984). He was also the recipient of numerous awards including the Nehru Award for International Understanding, the Third World Prize, Nansen Medal for Outstanding Service to Refugees and the Lenin Peace Prize.

His publications include Freedom and Unity (1966), Freedom and Socialism (1968), Freedom and Development (1973), Ujamaa (1968), Julius Kaisari- a translation of Julius Caesar into KiSwahili and Mabepari wa Venisi (a translation of Merchant of Venice into KiSwahili).

He passed away on 14 October 1999.


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