In the nineteen 60s and 70s, the University of Dar es Salaam was recognised internationally as a great academic institution, and the site of anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist, socialist studies and activism. With the onslaught of neo-liberalism beginning with Structural Adjustment Programmes in Tanzania in the mid 80s, the university was one of its prime targets; subjected to numerous pressures designed to extinguish the flames of revolutionary scholarship and activism.
The establishment in 2008 of the Mwalimu Nyerere Chair on Pan-Africanism with Professor Issa Shivji as its first Chairman, and the annual Distinguished Nyerere Lectures Series inaugurating annual intellectual festivals was, in Professor Shivji’s introduction to this volume of collected lectures, “the resurrection of radical Pan-Africanism at the University of Dar es salaam.”
The impact of the festivals and the lectures went well beyond the university community, as substantial number of the participants at these lectures and debates were citizen intellectuals, not part of the university community. The calibre of the distinguished lecturers speaks for itself; there could be no better representation of progressive African intellectuals honouring the legacy of Mwalimu Nyerere, than Professors Wole Soyinka, Samir Amin, Bereket Habte Selassie, Micere Githae Mugo and Thandika Mkandawire whose lectures are published in this book.
International figures such as Father Huddleston and Sir Shridath Ramphal join with Tanzanian scholars to assess, not without criticism, the influential contribution of Julius Nyerere both within his own country and across the Third World.
- Part One provides an overview of the man and his thought.
- Part Two focuses on those areas of policy in which Nyerere took a particular interest.
- Part Three concentrates on the major social, economic and political issues that have been central to the unique Tanzanian experience – unique because of the exceptional man who shaped the first quarter of a century of independence.
This collection contains major papers delivered at a conference dedicated to the memory of Julius Nyerere, held in January 2000 at the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The contributors, scholars and diplomats in Russia with Africa interests, rank Nyerere on a par with national leaders such as Gandhi, Nkrumah and Nasser. Their essays show that not only was Nyerere a political figure of stature, but that he was also an uncommon philosopher-theorist who made an important contribution to the intellectual development of his country and of the Kiswahili language. They further illustrate Nyerere’s reliance on unity and cooperation between African countries, and his belief that the elimination of poverty and backwardness in the country could only become a reality through cooperation with African States and other Third World countries.
Overall, this collection of papers from the Russian culture argue that Nyerere’s extraordinary role in the history of Africa and his contribution to Africa’s development and letters is still under-recognised, and argue for the restitution of his writings and ideas.
“The views expressed of Mwalimu are generally objective and well-balanced…The papers contain…intriguing snippets of information about Soviet-Tanzanian relations. In one of the more interesting papers Vladimir Ovchinnikov, a Swahili scholar, pays tribute to Nyerere’s often overlooked contribution to the Swahili language.” — Tanzanian Affairs
Described by the author as a ‘Fantasia on Aminian theme’, Wole Soyinka’s new play presents a savage portrait of a group of dictatorial African leaders at bay in an embassy in New York. The resemblance between them and recent historical characters is only too pronounced.
The Blackman and the Veil: A Century On And Beyond the Berlin Wall (W.E.B. DuBois Padmore Nkrumah Pan African Lectures Series)
Lectures delivered by Wole Soyinka on 31st August and 1 September, 1990.