The late MWALIMU Julius Kambarage Nyerere was an icon as well as inspiration to the liberation of Southern Africa and a hero who assisted SADC member states in achieving independence with the support of the people of the United Republic of Tanzania. This commemorative speech was said in Butiama village by Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC) Board Chairman, Professor Peter Katjavivi at the weekend during a ceremony in honor of Mwalimu Nyerere as they marked the 20th anniversary of his death.
The Board chairman further said that Nyerere inspired and supported a generation of leaders and freedom fighters, while he was Chairman of the Front Line States by mobilizing material, diplomatic and moral support for the independence movement in Southern Africa.
“Tanzania hosted the Liberation Committee of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now referred to as African Union (AU), of which Mwalimu Nyerere was a founder in 1963.”
Pro Katjavivi eulogized Mwalimu Nyerere as a visionary leader who had a long-term view of regional integration and development, aside from being the pioneer of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and its predecessor organization.
Prof Katjavivi, also the Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia and a senior official of the SWAPO party, said Mwalimu’s inspiration and support played a major role in achieving his country independence as well as other regions.
The board chairman once spent 27 years as an outcast during the liberation struggle, starting with his arrival in Dar es Salaam in December 1962, where he spent 3 months moving about, hiding to avoid security as he traveled from then South African-occupied South West Africa, now independent Namibia.
He traveled through then Bechuanaland (now Botswana) and via Southern and Northern Rhodesia, which were yet independent and are now the independent countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia respectively.
Thereafter, he served as Deputy Representative of SWAPO in Tanzania. The SARDC, which is a front line regional knowledge center and SADC partner, had its Board meeting at Mwitongo Lodge in Butiama on 29-30 June, to honor Mwalimu Nyerere, who was the Founding Patron of the institution.
During the event at Butiama, Members of the Board were shown around the complex by Mwalimu’s son Madaraka Nyerere, who is also a member of the Board of SARDC.
Highlights of the tour included a personal library and the family house, the museum and the mausoleum where Mwalimu Nyerere remains was buried in October 1999.
The Chairman laid a wreath on the grave on behalf of the Board and planted a tree at the site. SARDC’s headquarter is now based at Julius K. Nyerere House in Harare, Zimbabwe and operates throughout the 16 member states of SADC.
The Board members are drawn from different countries and disciplines in the SADC region with the current Vice Chairman being Arlindo Lopes from Mozambique.
SARDC works on a range of regional research initiatives, including Energy, Water Resources, Infrastructure, Industrialisation, Gender and issues relating to Environment and Climate.