Julius Kambarage Nyerere, nicknamed "Father of the Nation"

Julius Kambarage Nyerere, nicknamed "Father of the Nation"

African nationalism without true African unity will be meaningless, dangerous and obsolete."

Speech by the Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, from Robert Emerson's book on African Unity, 2009.

Julius Kambarage Nyerere, nicknamed "Father of the Nation", was born in April 1922, in the village of Butiama, in the tribe of Zanaki, whose chief was his father, and died in October 1999. Father of five sons and two daughters, he is known for loyalty and leadership and nicknamed the "Mwalimu" (teacher in swahili).

After obtaining his master's degree in England, he worked as a teacher and then founded the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) party, through which he preached non-violent protest to obtain independence from the British Empire, that supported tribal leaders, who applied a policy of discrimination and isolationism.  In 1961, he became Prime Minister, and two years later, Zanzibar gained independence, and its unity with Tanganyika was declared under the name of State of Tanzania the following year, in 1964. Nyerere became  President and voluntarily renounced the presidency in 1985.

He is one of the leading advocates of African unity, one of the leaders of the liberation movement in the 1960s and 1970s and one of the founders of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which  was created a year after the recommendations of the Addis Ababa Conference in May 1962, in which he pronounced: "We believe in the African unity, our faith in Africa itself."

His reign extended to four presidential terms, and he enjoyed the support and love of his people, especially the lower classes, because of his adoption of "socialism" which, according to him, represented a mixture of  "practical socialism" and "African communism".  He also authorized the amendment of the state constitution in 1992, so that his country could adopt a multi-party political system. In 1967, Tanzania formed a tripartite union with East African countries - East African Union (EAC) - and he also adopted Swahili as the official language of his country, thus dissolving differences and reducing those between tribes in East and Central Africa.

An intellectual passionate of world literature, he has translated Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice" and "Julius Caesar", and he has written many books including Freedom and Unity in 1967, Liberty and Socialism in 1968, Freedom and Development, in 1973,  which underlines his deep belief in African socialism and the fact that universal education is the way to liberate the people.

He established ties of friendship with the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, thanks to his project in Tanzania, similar to that of Nasser in Egypt, where they both adopted the slogan of "socialism".  They adopted the same common orientations concerning the affairs of the African continent and international issues.  Salem Ahmed Salem was appointed Tanzania's first ambassador to Egypt in 1964 following the unity declared between Tanganyika and Zanzibar.

In his speeches, Nasser described Nyerere as "the student and teacher of his people, and one of the great Africans of his time.”

"Nyerere is a strong and courageous leader, not only for Tanzania or for all of Africa, but for all of humanity," he said in a visit to the Parliament in Tanzania.  It should be noted that President Nyerere had mourned the death of the Egyptian president, and pronounced: "The death of Nasser is a terrible shock and a great loss for the whole world, even his enemies will mourn his death, Nasser was a great man" and he cried, it was the first time anyone had seen him crying.