An unexpected find

On Friday I was wandering among the stalls of the old book faire in Madrid, when I came across this:
nyererecubierta
nyererecontracub
It surpised me a lot. Despite the importance which the figure of mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere has for understanding not only Tanzania (even today, see for example Elie’s reflections on Nyerere Day, which was last Thursday), but many other parts of Africa during the past five decades, it is relatively difficult to find an edition of his works. It’s hard enough to do it in English, so imagine in Spanish. In fact I did not know about this “Socialismo, Democracia y Unidad”, until I found it there. It is a small book, barely 100 pages and edited in paperback format. It was published in 1972 by Zero editors, in Bilbao, in his collection “Lee y Discute” (“Read and Discuss”) – a brilliant name, by the way.
The book containes nonetheless, the key text of Nyerere’s Tanzania, the Arusha Declaration, which outlines the socialist model adopted by TANU in 1967. This is preceeded on the book by three texts which outline Nyerere’s thought further. These are “Ujamaa the basis of African Socialism”, in which we are told that “socialism, like democracy, is a state of mind”, one of the key ideas which separate ujamaa from Marxist socialism; “Democracy and Political Parties”, in which Nyerere praises the consensual democratic model of many African societies, and uses it to defend, more controversially perhaps, the single-party model; and “The United States of Africa”, in which African Unity is defended, but using as the basis (unlike other pan-Africanists), the nation-state.
These ideas are still important, in my opinion, because they show how some of the political leaders of the African independences, not only Nyerere, but also Lumumba, Nkrumah, Senghor… despite their flaws and mistakes showed through their intellectual and ideological leadership, a great faith in the future of their countries – and the continent. These leaders envisioned a trully independent Africa (hence the importance of “self-reliance” and of fighting against neo-colonialism). Much has happened since, and reality has been much harder and complicated, but the importance of searching for a trully independent direction for Africa, has lost none of its relevance.

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