DURING his official State Visit to Namibia, the President of Tanzania, Dr. John Magugfuli, was invited to attend a special ceremony where a street in the country’s capital city was renamed after the father of the Tanzanian Nation.
The street renaming ceremony in Windhoek took place shortly after President Hage Geingob officially welcomed his Tanzanian counterpart to the country. The two Heads of State held bilateral talks at State House during which they discussed improved trade and cooperation between the two countries.
After the meeting at State House the two Heads of State were escorted to Lazarette Street near the Windhoek city centre where it was renamed after the father of the Tanzanian Nation, the Pan-Africanist icon, and extraordinary personality, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, a man who played a critical role in Tanzania liberation struggle.
President Geingob paid special tribute to the father of the Tanzanian Nation. His full speech reads as follows:
I am pleased to welcome you all to this momentous occasion, where we are gathered to honour one of Africa’s foremost luminaries, a Pan-African icon, an extraordinary personality and one of the founding fathers of Africa’s drive towards decolonization and independence.
We are honoured to mark this historic moment in the presence of Your Excellency Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli and your esteemed delegation, most notably Comrade Makongoro Nyerere, whose revered father we pay homage to, through this street renaming ceremony.
Mwalimu, as he was aptly christened and affectionately known, was a consummate Pan-Africanist. He was also an ardent defender of the downtrodden and forgotten people of the world, who faced injustice at the hands of capitalist exploitation. It is no surprise that his legacy has left an indelible mark on the political and social history of our continent.
Namibia’s affection for Mwalimu runs deep. It is an affection that is tied to our most defining period as a people and as a nation – the long and bitter struggle for independence. Ancient
Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Our thousand-mile journey towards independence began with the single steps of young and brave Namibians who decided to take the daunting journey into exile in search of a means to liberate their countrymen and women.
Our journey into exile was daunting and we faced many challenging moments but we never wavered since we were spurred into staying on the path of liberation by the exploits of Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Modibo Keita, Abdel Nasser, Jomo Kenyatta, Kenneth Kaunda and other icons of the liberation struggle, whose inspiring words, echoed in our thoughts.
For many of Namibia’s sons and daughters, the long path to freedom took them to Tanzania, where Julius Nyerere had opened the doors to welcome Southern-Africa’s liberation movements, providing much needed support and refuge. Mwalimu was not just a Pan Africanist in thought and words. He lived, breathed and practiced Pan-Africanism. He was the archetype of a revolutionary and internationalist. It was Mwalimu’s Pan-
African spirit that allowed SWAPO to find a reliable and dependable center, where it could establish itself as a formidable player in the political, diplomatic and military training centers to sharpen our skills for our struggle for independence.
Many Namibians recall Kongwa camp, a key site in Southern Africa’s armed struggle history, where combatants of the Southern African Liberation movements enhanced there military capacity through training received from Pan-Africanist and international friends and allies.
This invaluable support and training offered to SWAPO by Julius Nyerere and the people of Tanzania, played a critical role in helping SWAPO and its armed wing PLAN to overcome the formidable Apartheid Regime and bring to reality, the dream of freedom and independence. It is for this reason, that Namibia will never forget those who stood by us during the most trying times of our liberation struggle. We are therefore, proud to play our part in honouring one of the outstanding sons of Africa – Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.
From this day on, let this street symbolize not only the path that we have traversed to get to where we are today, but the path that we must traverse to get where we are going, towards the Africa We Want. That is what Mwalimu professed when he said, “My generation led Africa to political freedom. The current generation of leaders and peoples of Africa must pick up the flickering torch of African freedom, refuel it with their enthusiasm and determination, and carry it forward.”
Let us honour this giant by picking up the flickering torch of African freedom, refuelling it with our enthusiasm and determination, and carry it forward, towards a peaceful Africa, a united Africa and a prosperous Africa.