Africa Day Celebration

Theme: Reflections on the Philosophy, Values and Praxis of President Julius Mwalimu Nyerere: How far have we come in creating an education system for Africa’s Renewal?



Africa’s development was disrupted by the advent of colonialism that did not just deny the humanity of her people, but fragmented, exploited its resources and dehumanised her people. In the true African spirit of collectivism, self-organisation, self-reliance and common humanity, the continent fought against colonialism and placed the unity of the continent as the centrepiece of the struggle against colonial subjudication.

Amongst many of the leaders at the forefront of the struggle is late first Tanzanian President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. Had he lived; he would have turned hundred (100) on the 13 April 2022. Nyerere was a scholar, intellectual, teacher, African patriot, freedom fighter and a humble son of the continent committed to Africa’s unity and renewal. He championed the development and unveiling of the Arusha declaration which dictated the vision for a liberated Tanzania. The declaration was meant to advance amongst others the values of equality, freedom and human dignity as espoused in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Mwalimu and his generation did not just usher in freedom, but they had a vision for the development and renewal of the continent. Moreover, some of them like him tested their visions and plans in practice – they experimented these as alternatives to a development path that centred colonial interest and ideals. Part of his major contribution was on the conceptualisation of the education system that was to support the ideals of Arusha Declaration.  To this end, Nyerere envisioned an education system that “encourage the development in each citizen of three things: an inquiring mind; an ability to learn from what others do and reject or adapt it to his [or her] own needs; and a basic confidence in his  [or her] own position as a free and equal member of the society, who values others and is valued by them for what he [or she] does and not for what he [or her] obtains”.

The African Union (AU) marshalled the Pan African Agenda 2063 to respond to President Mwalimu Nyerere’s assertion of resilience to attain self-reliance.

Albeit the political liberation of the continent from its erstwhile oppressors, but the fundamental question is whether her renewal is on track?


Unpacking the Theme

The theme for Africa Day celebration organised by Madibaz YouthLab is anchored by rethinking the real meaning of utilising education for Africa as a continent to meet the objectives of a continent that is buttressed on the values of self-reliance. This was articulated in Arusha declaration as a possibility of finding long lasting solution for African problems. Agenda 2063 emphasises the importance of people-driven development that relies on the harnessing of the potential of African people particularly women and youth.

It is thus necessary to stop and reflect on the philosophy, values and praxes of Nyerere and his contemporaries. We need to answer the question: have we succeeded in transforming the inherited colonial education into a transformative vehicle for the development and renewal of the continent?


Reflective Questions

In the context of the foregoing, Imbadu seeks to reflect, ponder and proffer some answers to the following vexing questions:

  • What kind of philosophy and vision that underpinned the work of Nyerere and his generation?

  •  What has been continuities and discontinuities between the past and the present?

  • What kinds of praxes made leaders like Nyerere consistently connected to the and most people to be at all material times be an epitome of the aspirations and values of their people and society?

  • What is to be done – lessons for the current generation of young people?