Material relating to Julius Kambarage Nyerere (1922-1999)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-449
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      circa 7 envelopes and folder and envelopes containing proofs, letters, printed matter; 1 film
  • Location
      Gen.784/3; Gen.173 Nyerere; MS218

Scope and Content

The material is composed of: galley proofs of Nyerere's Swahili translation of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar; an annotated copy of the translation in preparation for the second edition, typescript of galley proofs, and related correspondence; annotated copy of the published Swahili translation, Julius Caezar printed in Nairobi; letters to Edinburgh University relating to a coming conference on constitutions, and the speech given by Nyerere on the theme; proof of The Merchant of Venice; a film of an interview with a student, 1961; and, an application form for life membership of the Friends of Edinburgh University Library filled up by Nyerere.

Administrative / Biographical History

Julius Kambarage Nyerere was born in Butiama in the former Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in March 1922. He was the son of the chief of the Zanaki tribe. He was educated at Tabora Secondary School and then studied at Makarere University College in Kampala, Uganda. Before studying at Edinburgh University - becoming the first Tanganyikan to study in a UK university - he taught in several Roman Catholic schools in Tanganyika. He graduated in 1952 with the degree of M.A. in history and economics, and then returned home to teach. Nyerere's political career began immediately in a country held by Britain as a UN Trusteeship (former League of Nations mandate). He joined the Tanganyika African Association, Dar es Salaam, and became its President in 1953 before transforming the organisation into the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) in 1954. In 1955 and 1956 he went to the UN in New York to petition the Trusteeship Council and then the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly, or at least its Committee on trusts and non-self-governing territories, asking for a target date for the independence of Tanganyika. Although this was rejected by Britain, Nyerere had shown himself to be the most prominent nationalist spokesman and he was nominated as a member of the Tanganyika Legislative Council. He resigned in 1957 because of the slowness of negotiations towards independence, but in the elections held in 1958-1959 TANU won a large number of seats in the Legislative Council. In subsequent elections in 1960, TANU won practically all of the seats in a new Legislative Assembly, and self-government was achieved in September 1960. He became Chief Minister, and then in 1961 Prime Minister, and Tanganyika became independent in December 1961. The country became a republic the following year with Nyerere as its President, and from 1964 he was the President of the United Republic of Tanzania (Tanganyika and Zanzibar). He was re-elected in 1965 and served for three additional five-year terms before resigning as President in 1985. He had also been one of the founders of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) in 1963 and was its Chair in 1984. In addition to his political career, he translated Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice and Julius Caesar into Swahili. Other publications include Freedom and unity (1966), Freedom and socialism (1969), and Freedom and development (1973). The former President of Tanzania, Julius Kambarage Nyerere died in London on 14 October 1999.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Proofs of Shakespeare translation, acquired October 1964, Accession no. E64.67. Letter of 1986, acquired September 1987, Accession no. E87.87. Letter of 1988, acquired July 1988, Accession no. E88.103. Conference address, acquired September 1988, Accession no. E88.109. Film, 1961, acquired October 1993, Accession no. E93.100. Copy of translation, acquired 1998, Accession no. E98.43.


At the time of writing this description the filmed interviewed had not been found.

The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Who's who 1995. London: A. and C. Black, 1995. (2) The new encyclopaedia Britannica. Micropaedia. Ready Reference. 15th edition. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1991.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Custodial History

Accession nos: E87.87; E88.103; E88.109; E93.100; E98.43. Consolidated to MS 3218 November 2005. E93.100 not found at November 2005.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.


Within Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library, at shelfmark SD 5129, there is a copy of the revised edition of Juliasi Kaizari published in Dar es Salaam by OUP, 1969, and at shelfmark SD 5128, Mabepari wa Venisi published in Dar es Salaam by OUP, 1969.