UJAMAA: Past and Present - International Reports
After the Independence of Tanganyika in 1961 and the unification with Zanzibar in 1964, many eyes lay on the country's new President, Julius Nyerere, or Mwalimu (the Teacher) as he was called. It was with him, that Ujamaa became a word known by the world and a reality for the people. Ujamaa has been the subject of discussion when debating Tanzania’s postcolonial past ever since. Ujamaa, a Swahili word that can be translated with „familyhood“, which mainly refers to a set of values, was introduced by Julius Nyerere in the late 1950s and first defined in his essay “Ujamaa – the Basis for African Socialism” (Nyerere 1962). With the Arusha Declaration in 1967, Ujamaa became the government policy of the single-ruling-party TANU (Tanganyika African National Union) and the official development strategy which ended only in the late 1970s due to its economic failure. However, as many scholars (Fouéré 2014; Karume & Kilimwiko 2020; Pratt 1999) argue, Ujamaa is not only a matter of the past, but its legacy affects the present. To further understand the impact of Ujamaa on the present, this article will first examine the past, starting with the key ideas of Ujamaa itself, while taking its relation to African socialism into account.
Using Julius Nyerere’s essay „Ujamaa - the Basis for African Socialism “(1962) as a starting point, this article seeks to explore Ujamaa’s multifaceted meanings and realities, addressing the Arusha Declaration (1967) and the beginnings of a villagization program. It furthermore aims at critically reflecting on the role and portrayal of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere concerning Ujamaa.