1960 was the year of Africa, and so, last year we saw plenty of African countries “turning 50”. However by no means all countries became independent then; for some like South Africa, it took as long as 1994 to attain majority rule (and of course South Sudan has become Africa’s newest country only this summer).
And so, 9th December 1961 was the time for Tanganyika – as the territory was known back then (it became Tanzania following the union of the mainland and Zanzibar in 1964). The country became independent under the leadership of one of the most inspiring leaders of independent Africa: Julius Kambarage Nyerere, (“Mwalimu”), who developed the concept of ujamaa, and was one of the very, very few PAfrican Presidents to abandon power willingly.
Tanzania (not Kenya!) is also where Africa’s highest peak – Mount Kilimanjaro – stands; the birthplace of Swahili; and home to many dear friends.
So, although it’s strange to wish a country “happy birthday”, I’d like to at least celebrate this milestone for a country which I have’t yet had the chance to visit but I am really looking forward to!
Although I couldn’t embed it on the blog, I recommend this video by Tanzania Old School band, celebrating the 50th anniversary, and which contains some historical footage of the country’s independence.