Julius Nyerere Banknote

Julius Nyerere (1922-1999)

"In Tanganyika we believe that only evil, Godless men would make the color of a man's skin the criteria for granting him civil rights."

In 1966, the Benki Kuu Ya Tanzania (Bank of Tanzania) introduced notes for 5, 10, 20 and 100 shillingi to replace the East African shilling in circulation. The 1000 banknote features Julius Nyerere and the Statehouse and Dar es Salaam on the reverse; the largest city and former capital of Tanzania.

Julius Kambarage Nyerere was a well-known anti-colonial activist, political and social theorist who served as prime minister of Tanganyika from 1961 to 1962, and then as president from 1963 to 1964, after which he led its successor state, Tanzania from until 1985. Though a controversial individual, his dedicated political service to his country resulted in his status of being the “Father of the Nation” and is often referred to by the Swahili honorific Mwalimu meaning ‘teacher’.

Nyerere was born in Butiama, then in the British colony of Tanganyika, as the son of a Zanaki chief. In 1954, he helped form the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) which principally fought for the sovereignty of contemporary Tanzania and independence from the British Empire. Influenced by the Indian Independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, Nyerere preached non-violent protest to achieve his aim – achieving independence in 1961.

Following the Zanzibar Revolution of 1964, the island of Zanzibar was unified with Tanganyika to form Tanzania. Nyerere placed a growing emphasis on national self-reliance and socialism, developing close national links with Mao Zedong’s Marxist-governed China. In 1967, Nyerere issued the Arusha Declaration that outlined his vision of Ujamaa, meaning ‘familyhood’ in Swahili, which asserted that a personhood is achieved through the people or community. Banks and other industries and companies were nationalised, and public services such as education and healthcare were significantly expanded.