Dr. Julius Nyerere, President of the Republic of Tanganyika is one of the most able, modest, and democratic minded statesmen Africa has ever produced. He is man who is hailed by contemporary historians and politicians, as being a leader of superb qualities, wide vision, and intellect. He was born in 1923 in Northern Tanganyika. He went to school at the age of 12. He attended Makerere College in Uganda, from 1943 to 1945, and obtained a diploma in Education. The next four years were then devoted to teaching in a Catholic Mission School in Tanganyika. Entering the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, in 1949, Dr. Nyerere graduated with a Masters degree in Economics and History.
When he came home to Tanganyika to teach, he found his people making restless efforts in order to achieve independence, but without a leader to spearhead their demands. He therefore joined The Tanganyika African National Union. Under the leadership of Dr. Nyerere and his party, Tanganyka has been able to achieve its independence smoothly and in an orderly manner. It has also been termed as an island of peace in the ocean of instability and agitation.
Dr. Nyerere has made it clear that he looks upon any immigrant, who has made his home in Tanganyika, as a Tanganyikan born African. On June 1960, he advocated an East African Federation at the Conference of Independent African States in Addis Ababa and announced that he was prepared to postpone Tanganyikan independence if this will further the independence of the other East African States.
When South Africa applied to remain a member of the Commonwealth after she became a republic, his intervention along with other leaders, led to South Africa’s withdrawal from membership. Dr. Neyere was quoted as saying, “The principles of the Commonwealth will be betrayed. To vote South Africa in is to vote us out…” Dr. Neyere is generally regarded as moderate politician, who is able to form long-term policies and decisions. He is an avowed socialist, and a devoted Panafricanist, who is courageous and determined to end racism.