Mwalimu Nyerere Day – October 14
Mwalimu Nyerere Day is observed annually on October 14 in Tanzania. It commemorates the passing of Julius Nyerere, former president of Tanzania, on this day in 1999. Fondly remembered as the “father of the nation,” Julius Nyerere was born on April 13, 1922, in Tanganyika’s Mara Region. In December 1962, Tanganyika became a republic, and Nyerere was elected president. On April 26, 1964, Zanzibar and Tanganyika merged to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, with Nyerere as president and Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume as first vice president. In October 1964, the republic was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania.
HISTORY OF MWALIMU NYERERE DAY
Julius Nyerere was born on April 13, 1922, to Mugaya Nyang’ombe and Nyerere Burito, Chief of the Zanaki people. At the time, the British colonial administration preferred to educate sons of chiefs to perpetuate the traditional chieftaincy system and prevent the rise of a separate, educated elite who might oppose colonization. As a result, he began his schooling at the age of thirteen at Native Administration School in Mwisenge, Musoma in February 1934. He later attended Tabora Government School, from which he graduated in 1941, and began his university education at Makerere College, Uganda in 1943.
After graduating, he returned to Tanganyika and began teaching at the mission-run St. Mary’s. In 1949, he traveled to the United Kingdom, where he began studying for his Master of Arts degree, equivalent to a Bachelor of Arts in most English universities, at the University of Edinburgh. After graduating in 1952, he returned home and married Maria Gabriel, to whom he had become engaged in 1948.
In 1953, he was elected president of the Tanganyika African Association (T.A.A.). Under his leadership, the association became more pro-independence and on July 7, 1954, the T.A.A. became a political party, called the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). On December 9, 1961, Tanganyika gained independence from the British, with Nyerere as prime minister, though he resigned only a month later in January 1962. After his resignation, he focused on restructuring TANU and shaping the pattern of democracy. In December 1962, Tanganyika became a republic, and Nyerere was elected president of Tanganyika.