Library to celebrate life, works of Nyerere

It is very common for Africans to neglect the works and life of their heroes paving way for the misintepretation of African history by numerous western scholars studying events on the continent.

But the launch of this grand lottery, dubbed the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation grand lottery is expected to raise money for the construction of library in Dar es Salaam to house the works by and documents related to Nyerere ‘Baba waTaifa’ the founding father of Tanzania.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, the fourth president of this East African country, said winners would be picked through raffles to beheld in July, August and October and would win awards totalling some US$460 000.

The awards comprise a 10-tonne truck, a four wheel drive jeep, three 40-horse power tractors, 15 motorcycles, 40 television sets, 1 000 bicycles, 1 000 hand-held plows and 1 000 sewing machines.

Nyerere who was affectionately known as Mwalimu (the teacher) was one of the last surviving ginats of the days of emerging African independence and until his his death in October 1999 certainly the best known and most widely respected East African leader.

It is hoped that the new library would be modelled along major libraries that house the works of such pan African greats such as Dr Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela among others who fought for the dignity of the black man.

The establishment of the library will certainly fullfil the one of Nyerere’s major goals of education to fight ignorance and poverty.

Education was one of his major enduring message wherever he went and the creation of a library in his honour would enable young people to study African history as told by one of its shaper and writer.

“Education -its purpose is the liberation of Man from the restraints and limitations of ignorance and dependency. The ideas imparted by education or released in the mind through education should therefore be liberating ideas, the skills acquired by education should liberating skills.

“Teaching which induces a slave mentality or a sense of impotence is not education at all…it is attack on the minds of men,” Nyerere once remarked.

Nyerere lived all his life for others, for the betterment of his country, Africa and the rest of the world. And little when he died, he received glowing tributes from across the world.

A library in his honour will help equip Africans with the right knowledge to challenge Eurocentric views of African history which can be damaging to the dignity and pride of African people.

Nyerere was born on April 13 1922 in Butiama on the eastern shore of Lake Victoria in north west Tanzania.

He played a crucial role in the struggle for independence in Africa and in the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, now the African Union.

Africa will remember him for his smooth and voluntary exit from government leadership in 1985 and party leadership in 1990.

Nyerere’s integrity, ability as a political orator and organiser and readiness to work with different groupings was one of his greatest asset that was critical in his political career that saw him mediating in efforts to end conflicts in many parts of the continent.

He also came to have an important influence with the nationalist guerrilla groups in what was to become Zimbabwe, and was a key figure in the formulation of the peace plan that was concluded at the Lancaster House conference in London in 1979.

A library in honour of Nyerere would make the Pan African legend to take his rightful place alongside Nkrumah, King, Malcom X, Rodney, DuBois, Machel and many other African heroes in the pantheon of great African liberators.

It will be a highly symbolic library of Nyerere’s ideals and philosophies.

June 2006
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