Julius Nyerere was Baba wa Taifa of Tanzania, ‘Father of the Nation’, and his portrait still hangs in many shops, banks and schools. He also bore the title Mwalimu, ‘Teacher’. Education was a massive priority for him and this is what he had to say about university students.
Those who receive this privilege, therefore, have a duty to repay the sacrifice which others have made. They are like the man who has been given all the food available in a starving village in order that he might have strength to bring supplies back from a distant place. If he takes this food and does not bring help to his brothers, he is a traitor. Similarly, if any of the young men and women who are given an education by the people of this Republic adopt attitudes of superiority, or fail to use their knowledge to help the development of this country, then they are betraying our Union.
This is exactly the vision owned by many of the university students we know. They see themselves as working for the betterment of others and their nation. It’s also a great burden for many of them. They know what others have sacrificed in order for them to study, and they feel the obligation and the pressure to get a good job, start earning lots of money, and give back. That happens at both a personal level, for example giving financial support to family members, and at a national level, for example working in the education system or being involved in NGOs.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.