Father to the Nation

Julius Nyerere  1922-1999

I was in Washington last year. At the World Bank the first question they asked me was ‘how did you fail?’ I responded that we took over our country with 85 per cent of its adult population illiterate. The British ruled us for 43 years. When they left, there were 2 trained engineers and 12 doctors. This is the country we inherited.

When I stepped down there was 91 per cent literacy and nearly every child was in school. We trained thousands of engineers and doctors and teachers.

In 1988 Tanzania’s per-capita income was $280. Now, in 1998, it is $140. So I asked the World Bank people what went wrong. Because for the last ten years Tanzania has been signing on the the dotted line and doing everything the IMF and the World Bank wanted. Enrollment in school has plummeted to 63 per cent and conditions in health and other social services have deteriorated. I asked them again: ‘what went wrong?’ These people just sat there looking at me. Then they asked what they could do? I told them have some humility.
[Bunting,I. (1999) ‘The heart of Africa: interview with Julius Neyere on anti-colonialism’, New Internationalist, no.309]

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2 Responses to Father to the Nation

  1. Susan says:

    That is moving….

  2. wadawson says:

    Enough for me to want to put it in the blog. I am reading about his life right now and when I was away in country this large photo of Nyerere was in the Mbulu Regional DIstrict office and I got the idea of trying to take a photo in such a way as to not see the frame or the wall, so it would look like a photo of the man. It worked. Then I came on these words.
    Even with mistakes he is much admired and he gave Tanzanians their country. Trudeau did this for me.
    Yours Susan,

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