Julius Kambarage Nyerere

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Nyerere, Julius Kambarage

(käm'bərä`gā nī'ərā`rā), c.1922–99, African political leader, first president (1964–85) of Tanzania. Educated at Makerere College (Uganda) and the Univ. of Edinburgh, he taught in mission schools and founded (1954) the Tanganyika African National Union. Leader of the opposition (1954–60), he became chief minister after the 1960 elections. When Tanganyika attained independence (1961) he was prime minister and when it became a republic (1962), Nyerere was elected president. He brought Tanganyika and Zanzibar into a union as the republic of Tanzania (1964). Establishing a one-party state led by the Revolutionary Party of Tanzania (CCM), Nyerere authored a policy of African socialism characterized by economic self-reliance, egalitarianism, and local rural development, but it was ultimately unsuccessful economically. He engineered the ouster of Idi AminAmin, Idi
, c.1925–2003, Ugandan army officer and dictator. From the small Kakwa ethnic group, he advanced in the Ugandan armed forces from private (1946) to major general (1968). In 1971 he seized control of the government, toppling the regime of Milton Obote.
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 in Uganda in 1979. Nyerere retired from the presidency in 1985 but remained chairman of CCM until 1990.


See biography by G. Leibenow (1987).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nyerere, Julius Kambarage


Born 1922 in the village of Butiama, Musoma district. Political leader and statesman of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Nyerere attended Catholic missionary schools in the towns of Musoma and Tabora. He holds degrees from Makerere College in Uganda (1944) and the University of Edinburgh (1952). In 1953–54 he was president of the African Association of Tanganyika. In June 1954 he became president of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), and in 1977 he became chairman of its successor, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM or Revolutionary Party). In 1958 and 1960 he was elected to the Legislative Council of Tanganyika. When Tanganyika achieved home rule in 1960, Nyerere became chief minister and subsequently prime minister.

After the proclamation of Tanganyika’s independence (Dec. 9, 1961), Nyerere continued as prime minister, holding that post until January 1962. From 1962 to 1964 he served as president of Tanganyika, and since the unification of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964 he has been president of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Nyerere is one of the theorists of African socialism, and the author of such books as Freedom and Unity (1967), Freedom and Socialism (1968), and Socialism: the Rational Choice (1973). Nyerere has written prose and poetry in Swahili and has translated several classics of world literature into Swahili. [18–459–2; updated]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.