April13,1922 – October 14, 1999
was a Tanzanian anti-colonial activist, politician, and political theorist. He governed Tanganyika as Prime Minister from 1961 to 1962 and then as President from 1963 to 1964, after which he led its successor state, Tanzania, as President from 1964 to 1985. He was a founding member and chair of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) party, and of its successor Chama Cha Mapinduzi, from 1954 to 1990. Ideologically an African nationalist and African socialist, he promoted a political philosophy known as Ujamaa.
As outlined in his political program, the Arusha Declaration, Nyerere was committed to the creation of an egalitarian socialist society based on cooperative agriculture in Tanzania. He collectivized village farmlands, carried out mass literacy campaigns, and instituted free and universal education. He also emphasized Tanzania’s need to become economically self-sufficient rather than remain dependent on foreign aid and foreign investment. Nyerere termed his socialist experimentation ujamaa (Swahili: “familyhood”), a name that emphasized the blend of economic cooperation, racial and tribal harmony, and moralistic self-sacrifice that he sought to achieve. Tanzania became a one-party state, though certain democratic opportunities were permitted within that framework.
As a major force behind the modern Pan-African movement and one of the founders in 1963 of the OAU, Nyerere was a key figure in African events in the 1970s. He was a strong advocate of economic and political measures in dealing with the apartheid policies of South Africa. Nyerere was chairman of a group of five frontline African presidents who advocated the overthrow of white supremacy in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), South Africa, and South West Africa/Namibia (now Namibia).
Soft-spoken, unpretentious, small of stature, and quick to laugh, Julius Nyerere was
widely credited with impressive oratorical skills and unusual powers of political perception. His thoughts, essays, and speeches are collected in his books, Uhuru na Umoja (1967; Freedom and Unity), Uhuru na Ujamaa (1968; Freedom and Socialism), and Uhuru na Maendeleo (1973; Freedom and Development). He also translated two plays by William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice and Julius Caesar, into Swahili. Brittanica