Early Life and Education

Julius Kambarage Nyerere was the Prime Minister of Independent Tanganyika in 1961 and then President of Tanganyika from December 1962 and of Tanzania from 1964 to 1985, when he retire. He was thus Tanzania’s Founder President. He was born to chief Burito Nyerere and his wife Mugaya Wanyang’ombe on the 13th of April 1922 at Butiama, a village in the Musoma district of Mara Region, Tanzania. He was given the name of Kambarage which means “the spirit that gives rain”

At the age of 12,1934, he went to attend Mwisege Primary School in Musoma town, where he did the initial four years of primary education. In 1937 he went Tabora Secondary School where he studied till 1942.Between 1943 and 1945 he attended Makerere College in Kampala, Uganda- at that time the only institution of higher learning in East Africa-and obtained a diploma and a teaching certificate. He was baptized a catholic on 23 December 1943 and took the name Julius.

On his return from Makerere, he took up an appointment as a teacher at St,Mary’s Secondary School in Tabora, where he taught Biology and English. In 1949 he got a scholarship to study at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where he read economics, history and philosophy. He graduated with an M.A. in 1952.On his return, he took a teaching position at St.Francis College, Pugu, near Dar-es-Salaam, where he taught History, English and Kiswahili. On 24 January he married a Miss Maria Gabriel Majige, a Primary school teacher.


Political Career

While teaching at Pugu, his political activities were noted by the colonial government. He had to choose between a teaching career and going to politics. He choose politics, although, thereafter, he was fond of remarking that he was a “School teacher by choice and a politician by accident”!

Nyerere became President of the TAA in 1953.He was one of the seventeen members of the TAA who converted it into political party with the name of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), the main objective of which was to seek and achieve national independence for Tanganyika. Within one year it had gained a large following in the territory. The party worked closely with labor and cooperative unions.

Nyerere spoke on behalf of TANU to the Trusteeship Council and the Fourth Committee of the United Nations in New York in both 1955 and 1956.TANU contested the 1958 elections, winning 28 of the 30 elected seats in the Lagislative Council (LegCo). The Government, however, appointed 34 people to the LegCo, rendering TANU a minority party notwithstanding its victory. In essence, however, TANU’s victory was the start on the way to independence. In August 1960 TANU won 70 seats out of 71 in the LegCo, although even that one seat was won by a TANU member who had decided to stand as an independent against the candidate who had been selected by TANU.

Nyerere became Chief Minister on 2 September 1960.When Tanganyika gained limited internal self-Government (Madaraka) on the 1st of May 1961, he became Prime Minister. On the 9th  of December 1961,the country became independent with Nyerere as Prime Minister. On 22 January 1962 he resigned Premiership in order to concentrate on building and strengthening TANU as party of Government as well as on drawing up a republican constitution. On 9th December 1962 Nyerere became President of the new Republic of Tanganyika.

To be continue part-2


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