For those concerned with Africa’s liberation, it becomes increasingly important to anchor our steps in the reality of our environment and to benchmark our progress to the giant leaps forward obtained by our elders.
For those reasons, I recommend a book for review and reflection that uplifts the legacy of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, a servant leader who helped to usher into existence the independence of Tanzania.
Africa’s Liberation: The Legacy of Nyerere is an important contribution to the library of books bearing his name. During these times when in the Continent and notably in the Diaspora, African leaders have been lauded institutionally for ‘promoting peace’ internationally without championing justice locally, interviews with Nyerere spring from the past to re-direct attention to the truth: “Injustice and peace are in the long-run incompatible.”
In reading on Nyerere, one finds oneself captivated by a man who appreciated the urgent need for wealth redistribution to the poor and sought to steer national and intercontinental political will toward serving that aim.
At the same time, the book offers critical and honest reminders to view his political career and controversial decisions made along the way as a sincere journey of a people-centered leader from humble beginnings.
As a practicing Pan-African socialist, Julius Nyerere will forever be respected for his stance against neoliberal economic oppression, his works in the area of African liberation and the uplift of African culture and language, and notably, by many in the Arab nations for his support of Palestinian struggle for self-determination.
Those who remember the anti-Apartheid movement, hail Mwalimu’s contributions to the OAU Liberation Committee and Pan-African Freedom Movement of East, Central and Southern Africa (PAFMECSA), the solidarity he extended to facilitate the establishment of Solomon Mahlangu Freedcom College (SOMAFCO), and his outspokenness in highlighting American and British support of the Apartheid government on different occasions.
The well-spoken Nyerere of the 1970s screams for a development framework routed in empowering people to determine their future through skill acquisition and job creation.
Africa’s Liberation: The Legacy of Nyerere captures the Mwalimu (Swahili for teacher) who was vocal about the need for a paradigm shift away from charity into investment in Africa as well as African unity as a goal of highest priority for a sustainably prosperous future.
It highlights his efforts to preserve and promote religious tolerance and to expedite an African cultural renaissance, but also offers balanced commentary from Helen Kijo-Bisimba and Chris Maina Peter on Mwalimu when considering the provision and protection of human rightsin times when he perceived them to oppose the long-term aims of African independence and unity.
The Mwalimu of the 1990s was one who as Horace Campbell aptly noted, “raised his voice loudly against the genocide in Burundi, Rwanda and the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo” and served in his time as an African peacemaker.
As a leader who voluntarily stepped down from the towers of executive office, Nyerere set the powerful precedent that integral African leadership must include succession planning.
Essentially, the book brings thoughts that may contribute to the growth of our next generation of leaders and could also serve in the development of Pan-African curricula in the Diaspora.
If you are a new student of African affairs, Africa’s Liberation: The Legacy of Nyerere is a worthy read from which one can draw insight in taking our people further, faster.
If you are an African fighting for the real liberation of your community in Layoune, Mogadishu, Chisimayu, Harare, Darfur, or Cape Town, be encouraged to continue without hesitation toward the freedom which is your inalienable human right.
Nyerere said: The right of a man to stand upright as a human being in his own country comes before questions of the kind of society he will create once he has that right. Freedom is the only thing that matters until it is won.
In Kigali, you can get a copy of Africa’s Liberation: The Legacy of Nyerere at Librarie Ikirezi. As one of the latest books from Pambazuka Press to hit the stores, the book is likely to leave shelves quickly, in which case, one can order a copy from www.pambazukapress.org .
Disclaimer: In this year of many presidential elections around Africa (e.g., Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somaliland, and Togo), we should prepare ourselves by all means necessary to make the right decisions for Africa’s long-term.