Windhoek - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat has paid tribute to former Tanzania President Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere for laying a solid foundation for regional and continental unity, peace, freedom and socio-economic development.
In a statement on the occasion of Julius Nyerere Day (October 14), SADC hailed Nyerere’s leadership and devotion to political and economic liberation.
SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Tax underscored that the greatest honour that the region would bestow upon this great son of Africa was to carry forward the vision of peace, freedom, reconciliation, social cohesion, solidarity, resilience and development.
“From all corners of the continent, we shall forever be grateful for all the sacrifices Mwalimu endured for a just cause. Asante Sana, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere,” said Dr Tax.
His close friend and fellow liberation icon, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the former President of Zambia, said the best way of remembering Mwalimu Nyerere is to carry on where he left.
Although it is now 21 years after his death, Nyerere’s legacy towers over the region and beyond after being at the centre of the formation of both the Organisation of African Unity in 1963 (now the African Union) and the then SADCC in 1980 (changed to SADC in 1992).
Under his leadership, Tanzania hosted the pivotal Liberation Committee of the OAU, which was at the forefront of the decolonisation agenda.
As Mwalimu, the Swahili word for teacher, Nyerere believed that education was a key to social progress.
He promoted quality education which resulted in a record increase in school enrolment and literacy levels among Tanzanians. Nyerere established "Ujamaa ", a socio-economic programme geared towards transforming rural areas of Tanzania to be self-reliant and achieve sustainable development.
In 2019, SADC adopted Kiswahili as an official language of the bloc. At continental level, a statue in honour of Nyerere is being constructed at the African Union Peace and Security HQ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.