Tanzania Independence Day – December 9
Tanzania Independence Day is celebrated on December 9 every year. 2021 marks the 61st year of the country’s independence from Britain, which governed Tanzania till 1961 under the name of Tanganyika.
HISTORY OF TANZANIA INDEPENDENCE DAY
Tanzania’s independence movement started in 1954 and was led by Julius Nyerere, who co-founded the “Tanganyika African National Union (TANU)”. He was educated in Uganda and Scotland and began voicing his anti-colonial, Africanist political agenda when he returned to his country. He was inspired by the non-violent independence movement waged by Mahatma Gandhi in India and advocated for a similar resistance in Tanganyika. He was instrumental in uniting several tribal factions over the region to launch a united front against the British.
Elected to the General Council in the national elections of 1958–59, Nyerere, known as teacher or ‘Mwalimu’ in Swahili because of his teaching career, became the first President of an independent Tanganyika in 1961. It became a Republic the next year and merged with Zanzibar in 1964 after they overthrew the Sultan of Zanzibar. This is when the name of the country changed to Tanzania.
He was also a socialist who laid down state-ownership policies for services and community ownership for farms. When his plans failed to make Tanzania self-reliant, he became the first African leader to voluntarily resign from office. He remains a respected figure in the region because of his ethical principles.
Incidentally, the current ruling party, which is also the only party to have ruled the country, ‘Chama Cha Mapinduzi’, is an extension of TANU after it merged with the Afro-Shirazi party of Zanzibar. Currently, most of the Zanzibar archipelago remains a semi-autonomous region of the country with a flag that is a variation of the flag of Tanzania.