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Nyerere: The Early Years

Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 303
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Julius Kambarage Nyerere (1922-1999), the first President of Tanzania, was a man whose political life was uniquely and inextricably bound into the history of the nation he created. Yet, though 'Baba wa Taifa', Father of the Nation, there is still no adequate biography. This book presents the first truly rounded portrait of Nyerere's early life, from his birth in 1922 until his graduation from Edinburgh in 1952, helping us to see his later political achievements in a new light. It was after returning to Tanganyika that 'Mwalimu' (the teacher) formally entered politics, and led efforts to deliver Tanganyika to independence. Drawing on interviews with his contemporaries, as well as archival sources, including his letters as a student and files that the colonial authorities kept on him, this revelatory and engaging account allows us to see Nyerere afresh. It also brings a new perspective on how the scholarship that Nyerere engaged with as a young man in Scotland influenced his ideas of the uhuru movement against colonial rule and, later, the ujamaa policy of African socialism that so defined his leadership of an independent Tanzania. Thomas Molony is Lecturer in African Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-295-2
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Photographs, Figures & Maps
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiii)
  6. Glossary
    (pp. xiv-xv)
  7. A Note on Nomenclature
    (pp. xvi-xviii)
  8. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)
    Thomas Molony

    This book is a study of the first thirty years of the life of Julius Kambarage Nyerere – or ‘JUKANYE’, as he signed off in a newspaper piece on African socialism about six months into his studies at Makerere College in Uganda. The time period covered is mainly from his birth in Mwitongo in 1922 until his graduation from the University of Edinburgh in 1952. It was after his return to Tanganyika from Edinburgh that Nyerere formally entered politics. He went on to lead the efforts of many others in delivering Tanganyika Territory to independence, and then served as President...

  9. 1 Butiama: The Abandoned Place
    (pp. 11-36)

    Julius Kambarage Nyerere was to travel far from home during his early life. This was unusual for most young men born in Tanganyika Territory. But if at one level Nyerere was an unusual young man – thanks largely to the privileges that came with his father’s chiefly status – then at another level his early life was fairly ordinary. Butiama, the village of Nyerere’s birth, was little different from any other rural settlement in north-western Tanganyika. The Zanaki tribe into which he was born was so small and unremarkable that most inhabitants of Tanganyika Territory did not even know of...

  10. 2 Musoma & Tabora: Kambarage, Spirit of the Rain
    (pp. 37-61)

    This chapter looks first at Kambarage Nyerere’s earliest years in the village. It identifies his age-mates, among them John Nyambeho who recalls the circumcision right that he undertook with Kambarage, and their years herding livestock. It considers the influences of Nyerere’s early home life in an apparently egalitarian society, and discusses how the chief’s son later dealt with accusations of elitism and privilege. This is then related to Nyerere’s first exposure to formal education and to a new religion. His performance and reputation at Mwisenge Native Administration School is discussed, along with the influence of teachers and local missionaries. An...

  11. 3 Makerere: Becoming Julius
    (pp. 62-77)

    This chapter opens with Nyerere’s baptism in the Catholic church, his adoption of the name ‘Julius’, and his entry to Makerere College in Uganda. It considers Makerere’s academic environment, Nyerere’s exposure to a wider student body from Eastern and Southern Africa, and his enthusiasm for debating. An analysis is then given of Nyerere’s first known published work of a political nature. The chapter considers his activities as a Catholic in Uganda, as well as his early interaction with a number of Tanganyikans with whom he maintained political ties. It closes with an analysis of Nyerere’s activities in a Makerere-based student...

  12. 4 Return to Tabora: African Associations
    (pp. 78-99)

    This chapter begins with Nyerere’s career as a teacher in Tabora. It outlines the circumstances leading to his favouring St Mary’s, a Catholic school, over his alma mater, a government institution. It tracks the intensification of his political activity with the African Association, and the recognition at the territorial level of his potential in politics. The chapter analyses explanations for the Zanaki custom of child marriage, and introduces Nyerere’s first wife, a figure who is almost entirely side-lined in accounts of his early life. It discusses his article on education that was published in a Makerere College magazine, continues to...

  13. 5 Scotland: Great Conceptions
    (pp. 100-131)

    This is the first of three chapters that follow Nyerere to the United Kingdom. In this chapter we note Nyerere’s Tanganyikan predecessors who had previously studied in England, and reveal his reason for deciding to take a degree at the University of Edinburgh. The chapter offers an overview of race relations in the United Kingdom at the time, and details the Communist Party’s interest in African students. It then outlines the courses that Nyerere took over his three years in Edinburgh, introduces some of his main lecturers and the readings they prescribed, and considers the Tanganyikan student’s performance alongside his...

  14. 6 Edinburgh & Uhuru: Politics, Philosophy & Economics
    (pp. 132-162)

    This chapter begins by revealing the contact that Nyerere had with fellow Tanganyikans, especially those with him in the United Kingdom at the same time. It details an early sign of political differences that arose in a London meeting between Nyerere and representatives from the territory. It then charts Nyerere’s political activities in Edinburgh, where publicly he focused on the proposed Central African Federation. The chapter discusses the influence of Fabianism, which leads into an examination of the key political economy and moral philosophy texts that he studied for his degree. Emphasis is placed on Nyerere’s understandings of religion, traditional...

  15. 7 Edinburgh & Ujamaa: History & Anthropology
    (pp. 163-179)

    This chapter shifts from the philosophy that Nyerere studied at Edinburgh to the history and anthropology that he was exposed to there. It refers to the instruction he received on collectivity and political systems in Africa, and continues to relate this to his later writings onujamaa. It outlines the Christian environment in Edinburgh, and considers how this impacted on Nyerere’s religious views. It also deals with the literature he studied on educated Africans and political ambition. Further analysis is offered of Nyerere’s relationship with Edinburgh academics, culminating in his decision over his post-Edinburgh calling. The chapter conducts a first...

  16. 8 London & Pugu: Teaching & Politics
    (pp. 180-198)

    This chapter covers the period between Nyerere’s graduation until his resignation from Pugu. A final section then outlines the continuation of his ties with Edinburgh until shortly before his death. The chapter opens at the time Nyerere was based in London, months when he experienced intense interaction with African nationalists. It brings to light the racial motivations that determined his journey back to Tanganyika, and covers his marriage to Maria Waningu. Reflections are made on the tensions that impinged on Nyerere’s political activity in Uzanaki, and on the development of his relationship with political activists who held territorial-level ambitions. The...

  17. 9 The Early Years: Legacy & Reappraisal
    (pp. 199-207)

    The new evidence provided here has offered much-needed depth to the sparsely-informed and predominantly uncritical account of Julius Nyerere’s early life. In doing so it serves to correct some frequently-cited inaccuracies concerning his formative years. This study has revealed the dubious foundation upon which the dominant history of Uzanaki is based, allowing the case to be made for a lesser role of Zanaki influences onujamaathan is currently accepted. It has documented the Tanganyikan predecessors who studied in the United Kingdom before Nyerere, and it has determined why exactly he ended up studying certain subjects in Edinburgh.

    This study...

  18. Select Biographies, Bibliography & Sources
    (pp. 208-224)
  19. Notes
    (pp. 225-278)
  20. Index
    (pp. 279-284)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 285-285)