Julius Nyerere’s Vision of Epistemic Revival and Liberation

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Julius Nyerere was one of the founding fathers of an independent African state, namely, Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika). Like other African leaders of new African states, such as Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, and Kenneth Kaunda, he worked tirelessly to transform his country and obliterate colonial vestiges. Furthermore, like his contemporaries, he dreamed of bringing forth a new Africa that would reflect the Pan-African ideals that he cherished. This conceptual article revisits Nyerere’s philosophy and examines its relevance to Africa today. In the past decade, there have been continuous debates in South Africa as to how institutions can be decolonized, and Nyerere was among the first to talk about decolonization of higher education institutions in Tanganyika, as well as Africanization of public services. The article examines how his philosophy draws from Pan Africanism, education, African socialism, and African Renaissance. As the article examines these, it reveals how a transforming Africa can glean from Nyerere’s principles. The article’s conclusions demonstrate that there is still much that can be extracted from Nyerere’s philosophy; the unity he talked about, as a strategy of uniting Africa by utilizing his Pan Africanist ideals; the critical consciousness in education; the idea of community in society; as well as a need for Africanizing public institutions for better service. More than five decades after he first raised this philosophy, the decolonial debates resonate with his ideas. In fact, all African states should explore how they could revive Julius Nyerere by living his philosophy. His philosophy embraced strategies of not only building a new society but living and preparing for an African Renaissance.