Julius Rex: Nyerere through the eyes of his critics, 1953-2013

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This article examines political critics of Tanzania's first president, Julius K. Nyerere. While his detractors varied greatly in both ideological and sociological terms, the three major groups studied here shared a sharp intellectual frustration with Nyerere's effective utilization of humility as a political weapon to control debate, court international support, and silence opposition. Foreign critics, primarily European writers, were divided principally by their social proximity to Nyerere - older white "decolonizers" lamented their friend's embrace of authoritarian tactics to achieve utopian ends, while younger writers instead saw a distant and unworldly figure best understood in abstract philosophical terms. The most vocal Tanzanian critics, by contrast, were united by the heavy-handed actions they and their families had endured at the hands of the Tanzanian state, which in turn produced sharply personalized criticisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-477
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Eastern African Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Tanzania
  • authoritarianism
  • decolonization
  • imprisonment
  • journalism
  • political opposition
  • socialism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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