Julius Nyerere Achievements, Legacy, And Warnings From The Grave
By the time, he died (in 1999) Nyerere did not seem to have a mansion, or even money stashed away in Switzerland. We do not see that kind of President in Africa nowadays or for that matter elsewhere in the world?Professor Father Juvenalis Baitu – Former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA)
Mwalimu Julius Nyerere was not without his controversy. Like all leaders, he faced criticism for failed policy and slow economic development.
But to his credit, he crushed opposition to give his administration the space it needed to enact his agenda. And he was willing to experiment with new ways of managing his nation – albeit with limited success.
Despite his failures, there are people alive today who would not be where it not for his successes, which notably include the following:
Infant Mortality Was Cut In Half
By improving access to medical facilities and education, Julius Nyerere was able to reduce infant mortality rates from 138 per 1000 live births in 1965 to 110 in 1985.
Literacy Rates Exploded
Under Julius Nyerere, the adult literacy rate rose from 17% in 1960 to 63% by 1975 (much higher than in other African countries) and continued to rise.
Girls Gained Access to Education
Primary school enrollment for girls was raised from 16% of the age group in 1960 to 85% of females by age group in 1985.
Tanzanians United Across Ethnic Lines
By unifying his people under one language and promoting nationalism, Julius Nyerere was able to avoid the “tribal” and political tensions that affected the rest of Africa.
Julius Nyerere voluntarily retired from office in 1985 to encourage new leadership. His peaceful transfer of power stood in stark contrast to the coups that sadly characterize many African nations.
Throughout his retirement he lived out his days on his farm only occasionally intervening in politics. He would develop leukemia towards the end of the century – a disease from which he would never recover. On October 14, 1999, Mwalimu Nyerere joined the Ancestors. He is buried in Tanzania, but his spirit lives on across the African Diaspora.
Julius Nyerere is survived by his seven children: Makongoro Nyerere, Madaraka Nyerere, John Nyerere, Anna Nyerere, Rosemary Nyerere, Andrew Nyerere, and Magige Nyerere.
Julius Nyerere is often called ‘Mwalimu’ – a kiSwahili word that means ‘teacher’. True to his honorific, he continues to instruct us from the Ancestral realm.