Vice Chancellor’s Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Annual Lecture on Lifelong Learning, University of Western Cape, South Africa

In 2007, Ms Anne Hope was invited to deliver the lecture. Anne Hope is an inspirational, feminist adult educator with a long history of work in Africa and elsewhere on the side of poor and oppressed people. She is the co-author, with Sally Timmel, of the well used Training for Transformation Handbooks. Her `lecture` took the form of a convivial, participatory event that brought 250 local adult and popular educators together for an afternoon.

Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Annual Lecture on Lifelong Learning,  29th August, 2007

“The Search for a Convivial Society”

Anne Hope


First of all I would like to say how honoured I am to be invited by the Rector and Vice Chancellor, Professor Brian O’Connell, and Professor Shirley Walters to be the main speaker at this annual event on Lifelong Learning in honour of President Julius Nyerere.  I have been an admirer of Nyerere for nearly 50 years and he certainly contributed a great deal to my own lifelong learning, so it is a privilege for me to have this opportunity of honouring him, and contributing something towards the ongoing recognition of this great man

Lifelong Learning

The topic of this session is actually Lifelong Learning and I was asked to share something of my own process of lifelong learning.   I think there is a very strong correlation between one’s commitment to lifelong learning and the quality of one’s life.  As soon as one stops learning, one’s life begins to shrivel. 

Curiosity and Wonder.

I  think those who are really committed to lifelong learning, need two qualities.  One is a strong sense of curiosity, and the other is wonder.  It is a great gift to have parents who encourage one’s sense of curiosity.  My father certainly did this for me and my siblings.  I can remember sitting on the arm of his chair while he told us stories, especially the Just So Stories, “How the Leopard got his Spots”, and “The Elephant’s Child, who was filled with insatiable curtiosity”, and “that was how he got that useful long trunk of his.” I remember my father reciting with great enthusiasm the verse from Kipling in which he talks of questions as his most important assistants:

“they taught me all I knew.
their names are How? and What? and Where?
and Why? and When? and Who?
I send them over land and sea,
I send them East and West
But after they have workedfor me
I give them all a rest”.

The encouragement to use these “six questions” to ask about things we don’t understand, to search for answers to problems, to discover how things work, and why things are the way they are, is essential to launch a child on lifelong learning, even though the questions of children may often drive adults dotty.

Nyerere and Life-long Learning.

Nyererewas a wonderful example of a lifelong learner. He never stopped asking those questions.  He never stopped trying to understand the causes of the problems of his people, or stopped searching for effective solutions.

Nyerere was one of the most creative development thinkers and one of the great statesmen of the 20th Century and of Africa.  He was in a unique position because much sooner than most other people, he recognized that the policies of the dominant development organizations were not only failing to deal with the problems, but were in fact making them worse, contributing to the impoverishment of the countries of the South.  He was a very clear thinker and developed an increasingly sharp analysis.  All his life he was in a constant search to find effective alternative solutionsHe never stopped thinking, and he never stopped learning. 

 Unlike most of the development thinkers, who could only try out their ideas from academic settings or the offices of organizations, either local or global, he had the authority, as president of Tanzania, to put his ideas into practice immediately in a whole country.  The disadvantage of this was that it became glaringly obvious if any of his ideas were not working, whereas for most people the ideas that are not effective remain hidden in the pages of books and are soon forgotten.   In hindsight we can see that Nyerere  made some mistakes, but he was always open to evaluate his efforts, admit it when they were not working, and try something new, continuing to apply his mind to old and new problems alike.

Most of all he was a great and generous human being who had the wellbeing of his people deeply at heart.   His concern started with  the people of Tanzania, but this concern was constantly growing and soon stretched  way beyond his own country.  He tried hard to develop regional unity in East Africa, even going to war at great cost to his own country to help Ugandans get rid of Idi Amin.  He committed himself unreservedly to the struggle to get rid of apartheid in South Africa, and gave strong support to the African National Congress (ANC) in exile and to all the young exiles who flooded into Tanzania after 1976.  This means that there is and should always be a very deep bond between  South Africans and Tanzanians.  We owe him, and them, a lot.

Nyerere helped to develop the Southern African Co-ordinating Committee, which later became SADC, and as chairman of the South Commission he helped the countries of the South to challenge the global economic structures, which made the industrialized countries get richer and richer at the expense those of the South.

My experience in the Grail.

Since 1954 I have belonged to an international women’s movement committed to working for justice and peace, called the Grail.  As you probably know, in many different legends the Grail cup is the symbol of the ultimate happiness, peace and fulfillment - a fulfillment which is always elusive, but so close to our hearts that it is worth spending one’s whole life in the search for it.   In order to deepen our understanding of different countries  the  Grail organized long term exchange programs for people who were willing to spend three or four years serving in a different country.  I was lucky enough to be sent by the Grail to teach in Uganda for four years in my 20’s.  This had a lasting effect on my life.

 I was based in a small town called Kalisizo just 100 km north of the border of Tanzania.  We were building up from scratch a girls’ boarding school, only the fourth secondary school for girls in the country.  Kalisizo was referred to as a `center of trade and education`. The education and the trade consisted of a dozen or so small Indian shops on either side of the main, dirt road.  We were trying our best to make the education we offered relevant to the needs of the country and to the kind of life these girls would be leading later in their villages, so there was a strong emphasis on agriculture.  We  aimed at encouraging as much self reliance as possible. 

We grew all our own food, in that area this meant big banana plantations for the staple food, matoke, (steamed green bananas) sweet potatoes, cassava for times of famine, groundnuts, onions and tomatoes for sauces, and lots of pawpaws and pineapples.  The land was so fertile that if one put posts in the ground for washlines, in no time at all they started to bear leaves.  The girls worked after school each day in the fields and the older ones were actively involved in the local community.  We built in a lot of leadership trainingand the girls helped us organize women’s and girls clubs in the villages.

Tanzania in the 50’s and early 60’s

During those years in the late 50’s and early 60’s, we made frequent trips to Tanzania.  One of my colleagues, had been a fellow student with Nyerere, Julius, as everyone called him, when he was studying for his master’s degree at Edinburgh University.  So as all the East African countries, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania were moving towards Independence - Uhuru- we took a great interest in his career.  These were the years in which he was rapidly becoming more and more central in the struggle of Tanganyika for independence.  By 1957 he was drawing crowds of 30,000 wherever he went in the country, and in December 1961 he became Prime Minister of the first government of independent Tanganyika.  I first saw him at the celebration of Internal Self-government in May 1961 in the  town of Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria.  The excitement was enormous, unforgettable.  But a month later after independence, in January 1962  Nyerere resigned as prime minister.  

Along with everyone else I was flabbergasted.  Here was the undisputed leader of the country, resigning right after independence.  What on earth was happening?  But Nyerere had his reasons.  He did not resign as president of the party, TANU.   He had decided that if the country was to become a true democracy with responsible, well-informed voters, there must be far more political preparation of the people as a whole.  So he spent the next year traveling all over the country involved in an intensive programme of political and economic adult education.  Then, a year later, when Tanganyika became a republic, he became the first president of the country.  The name Tanzania was only adopted after the unification of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964.


For a while, when he returned from Edinburgh, Nyerere had been a high-school teacher, and education remained a matter of supreme importance to him all his life, including adult education .  We were delighted when he gave his speech on “Education for Self-Reliance” because he was affirming many of the things that we were ourselves trying to do in Kalisizo, but of course putting it into a wider national context.  It was not for nothing that Nyerere chose to be called ‘Mwalimu’, the Swahili word for teacher.  He remained an extremely skilled teacher all his life, explaining highly complex economic problems in simple terms, with vivid imagery from the experiences of everyday life, in such a way that rural people, with very little formal education, could understand them.

 I would like you to hear some of Nyerere’s own words so I have asked a couple of the Tanzanian students to do some reading for me:  For example  to show the link between freedom and development Nyerere used this example in one of his speeches:

1st Reader. “Freedom and development are as completely linked as are chickens and eggs!  Without chickens you get no eggs, and without eggs you soon have no chickens.  Similarly  without freedom you get no development,  and without development you very soon lose your freedom”.

In order to explain how the global terms of trade were controlled by the rich industrial nations entirely to their advantage, and were contributing to the growing impoverishment of the South, he said in another speech:

 2nd reader.  “Five years ago in order to buy a new tractor we had to export five tons of coffee.  Now in order to buy that same tractor we have to export eight tons of coffee”.  How many politicians even try to explain global economic structures in ways that their constituents can really understand? 

At first the British got the idea that Nyerere was a ‘moderate’. He was an extremely charismatic young man, with a smile that charmed everybody, and a great sense of humour.  He had a light touch, and there was often a sort of playfulness in the things he said, with twinkling mischievous eyes.  But he was always respectful to everyone, and the British felt that they could deal with him.  Yet he was, in fact, far more radical than any of the other leaders.  Of course he wanted Self-government and Independence, as other African leaders did.  He said,

Ist Reader. “To say a people are not ready to govern themselves is like saying an individual is not ready to live”.

But he not only wanted independence in order to replace European authority with African authority, he wanted to develop a totally different kind of society. 


One of his deepest convictions was the equality of all people.  He said:

“The significant thing about the division between rich and poor people, rich and poor nations, is not simply that one has the resources to provide comfort for all its citizens, and the other cannot even provide basic needs and services.  The reality and depth of the problem arises because the man who is rich has power over the lives of those who are poor, and the rich nation has power over the policies of those which are not rich. 

And even more important is that our social and economic system, nationally and internationally, supports those divisions and constantly increases them, so that the rich get ever richer and more powerful, while the poor get relatively poorer and less able to control their own future”.

That is obviously still true today, both within our country and on an international level.

Nyerere always stressed that the important thing was not the development of things, or of money, but the development of Man.  [He often used the word `Man`, where today we would speak of `Human` development, but unlike many other men, who are actually thinking only of men when they use this word, Nyerere was deeply conscious of the contribution and the rights of women.] 

He said,  2nd reader :   “The people who work hardest in Tanzania, in fact are far too overworked, are the rural women”.

Faith and Spiritual Values.

Nyerere was a practising Catholic, and  believed that all religions had a very important contribution to make to the building of a new society.  He seldom spoke about his own religion, but it did in fact profoundly influence the values to which he was committed.  He went to Mass and Communion every day all through his life, even during the busiest years of his presidency.   He was much more concerned about the “well-being” of his people in the full human sense, than merely with the economic growth.  He did not measure development, as many people do, only in terms of impressive growth of GDP.  He was deeply committed to an egalitarian society in which the fundamental human needs of all people would be met, where there would not be a large gap between the richest and the poorest, and where all would have the opportunity to experience the quality of life for which they longed. 

He was willing, when necessary, to challenge other African leaders. He was also willing to challenge the Church, even as he identified with it,when he saw we were not living up to our own values.   In a speech to church-workers in 1970 he said:

 â€œMy purpose today is to suggest to you that the church should accept that the development of people means rebellion.  At a given and decisive point in history people decide to act against those conditions which restrict their freedom as people.   I am suggesting that unless we participate actively in the rebellion against those social structures and economic organizations which condemn people to poverty, humiliation and degradation, then the Church will become irrelevant to people, and the Christian religion will degenerate into a set of superstitions accepted by the fearful.  Unless the Church, its members and its organizations, express God’s love for human beings by involvement and leadership in constructive protest against the present human conditions, then it will become identified with injustice and persecution.  If this happens it will die, and humanly speaking it will deserve to die – because it will then serve no purpose comprehensible to the modern world.”

He saw the role of the church not only as providing welfare to relieve the suffering of the poor, but also to challenge the structures which created and perpetuated poverty.  He said:

“The church has to help people rebel against their slums:  it has to help people do this in the most effective way it can be done.  But above all the church must be obviously and openly fighting all those institutions and power groups which contribute to the maintenance of those physical and spiritual slums  - regardless of the consequences to itself and its members…The church must work with the people building a future based on social justice.  It must participate actively in initiating, securing and creating the changes that are necessary.  Its love must be expressed in action, against evil and for good”

He would have expected the same of sincere Muslims, Hindus, Jews or Buddhists. 

 The problems Nyerere was struggling to solve have not gone away.  In many ways they have become worse on an international level.  We live now in a yet more unequal world.   Though some countries, such as India and China are well on their way to becoming super powers, there are still huge gaps between the rich and the poor within their borders, and between rich and poor nations, including many of those in Africa. 


Of course Nyerere made mistakes and some of his policies did not work.  In the early 70’s we all had high hopes of the ‘Ujamaa’ villages, built on the principle of sharing  in each village, in the way the members of a family share their resources.  Ujamaa means “Family”, and it was this quality of the extended family, with concern for one another, that Nyerere hoped would characterize African socialism, a socialism permeated with African conviviality.

At that time the Makonde Ujamaa sculptures started to appear everywhere.   I have no idea where or when the first one was made, but innumerable different versions were carved.  No two are ever alike.  They portray the deep intertwining of the lives of all the members of a family - of all the members of the One Human Family.  Each generation rises from the previous one, benefiting from all they have achieved, recognizing that “we all stand on the shoulders of the giants who have gone before us”.  We are all related, all dependent on one another, all reaching up in aspiration towards the fullness of life.  I have a very small example of one of these statues.  As we continue with the program I would just like to suggest that we pass it slowly around the room , from hand to hand, so that, as we touch it, we can consciously connect with this awareness, recently born out by scientific research, that we are all in fact part of the one great human family.

 Nyerere tried to persuade people to move from individual plots into Ujamaa villages, so that they could be within easy reach of the services the government wanted to provide for everybody, access to schools and clinics, piped water and electricity, and ongoing adult education programmes. 


However in Tanzania not everyone wanted to move, and some of the government officials grew impatientwith these people and started to remove them forceably.  This of course raised a great deal of resentment and was the deathknell of the policy.  And in fact during those years the production of food decreased seriously.  Tanzania went from being the largest exporter of food in  Africa to the largest importer.  One reason for this was definitely the very severe droughts of those years, but there were other factors.

Success and Failure.

I have heard people say that they recognize that Nyerere truly believed in equality but that “all he achieved was to leave all the people in his country equally poor.”  It is true that Tanzania is still a poor country, but I am convinced that it was not Nyerere’s social-democratic policies, but the policies of the global economic structures, especially the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and GATT, the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (which later evolved into the World Trade Organisation) that perpetuated the poverty of Tanzania and many other countries.   The huge increases made by OPEC in the price of oil in 1973 also exacerbated the problems.

Towards the end of his life Nyerere said:

“At the World Bank they asked me “How did you fail?” I responded that the British ruled us for 43 years. When they left I took over a country where 85% of the adult population was illiterate; there were two engineers and twelve doctors. When I stepped down in 1988 there was 91% literacy, and nearly every child was in school. We had trained thousands of engineers and doctors and teachers. The per capita income was $280. Ten years later, the per capita income had halved to $140. Enrolment in school has fallen to 63%, and conditions in health and other social services have deteriorated. In those ten years Tanzania has done everything the IMF and the World Bank wanted. So I asked them: ‘What went wrong?

National Unity.

Having lived in both Uganda and Kenya, where tribal divisions and rivalry were still very strong, one of the most refreshing things about Tanzania was the unity of the people and their strong sense of common purpose.  Swahili had really become the national language, spoken and understood by everybody, even the old people.  I can remember once walking up with some Tanzanian Grail members to villages high in the Pare Mountains to visit their grandparents.  We had wonderful conversations with all these people in Swahili.  In Kenya if you asked a person about their background, they would usually say “I’m a Kamba”, or a “Kikuyu” or a “Luo”, but in Tanzania if you asked them they would say at once, and very proudly, “I am a Tanzanian.”

Paulo Freire.

I returned to South Africa at the end of 1962, shortly after Ugandan independence.    It was here through the Grail  that I first heard of Paulo Freire, the Brazilian educator who was turning upside down the accepted wisdom around both adult education and development.  Some of our Grail members were working with him in the Movement of Basic Education in Sao Paulo, Brazil, working out new methods of developing conscientization through literacy programmes.   He used to say he was encouraging people to “read their own reality and write their own history”.

This programme was bringing to life, and giving hope, to thousands of formerly apathetic poor people, evoking in them critical thinking, and activating creative responses to make changes in their own situations.  Paulo Freire also worked with the Grail members in Portugal as they developed  programmes with farmers and fishermen in the south of the country. 

 In 1969 I went to do a Masters in Adult Education and Human Relations at Boston University and it was in that programme that I met Sally Timmel.  We have worked together frequently ever since then.  It has been a wonderfully creative and productive  partnership.  It certainly has convinced me that one of the greatest gifts one can receive is the opportunity to work in a truly compatible team in which different people really complement and bring out the best in each other.  In Boston  I took every course I could find dealing with Freire’s approach, and Freire himself spent the following year in Boston.  I attended a number of his chaotic seminars.  I could tell you many stories about those seminars, but we learnt a lot, the hard way, and I became convinced that this philosophy and methodology could become extremely significant in bringing about change in South Africa.  When I got back to South Africa I was working with the Christian Institute with Beyers Naude.  He agreed that I should start a number of literacy programmes trying to adapt the Freire methodology. 

Steve Biko.

Early in 1972 Steve Biko and Bokwe Mafuna came to me and said, “SASO (the South African Student Organisation) is planning to run a national literacy campaign, all over South Africa, during the long vacation in December and January, and we want to use the methodology of Paulo Freire.  We want it to be real conscientization not just the technique of reading and writing.  We understand that you know this method and we would like you to teach us”.  I must admit I was very flattered that they asked, because this was the height of Black Consciousness, and for the most part Black people were ‘doing their own thing’ and not wanting anything further to do with Whites.  They had become very aware that if they waited for Whites to change the country it would never happen.

I said, 

“This method is not something one can just teach,It involves a
whole process of doing listening surveys in each community to identify the issues on which people have strong feelings, developing effective problem-posing materials, called codes, to focus the attention of the group sharply on a particular problem, discussion outlines and different processes of action planning.  It takes months”.

“OK.  That’s what we want!” they said. 

SASO Literacy Training

So we set up a series of week-long workshops, one every month, for 5 teams- of three people each -  from Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, and Port Elizabeth.  And every month we spent a week discussing the theory, preparing materials, and practising leadership skills.  Then they went  back to their cities to test out the materials and the process in very intensive local community  groups.  It was a wonderful period.  They were the most committed and creative group I have ever worked with, and in fact during those 6 months we developed the outline of the phased training which would later become the basis of the DELTA Training in Kenya, and the Training for Transformation Programme which has since spread to more than twenty other countries in Africa and elsewhere.

The SASO literacy program did not happen in December 1972 because by that time nearly all the students who had been in the Freire Training were in prison, not only for the Freire training, but mainly for other activities against apartheid.  Even before that the South African regime had been very worried about the teaching of Freire, not surprising really, because his most famous book was called “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”.  I had my passport and my citizenship taken away from me by the apartheid government.  Of course they gave no formal reasons, but we all knew it was because of the work I had been doing using  Freire’s insights.

I left the country and went into exile. During that time I spent 7 years in Kenya, four in Zimbabwe and five in Washington, USA.  Each place became the context for new and different aspects of  my own process of  Lifelong Learning. It was in the seven years  Sally and I spent in Kenya, working in Church structures, that we really developed much further and adapted the Freire method, combining it with much more detailed economic, political andsocial analysis and with all the insights into  group dynamics and leadership skills which I had gleaned from the Christian Education and Leadership Training programme.

Conference at University of Dar es Salaam.

One of the highpoints of those years was attending  a conference on Adult Education at the University of Dar es Salaam in 1975 with a group of Kenyan trainers.  Paulo Freire was the keynote speaker and  President Nyerere gave the opening address.  It was very clear how much these two had in common in their whole approach to adult education and development. 

The conference itself was not very well organised.  They spoke all the time about the importance of participation, but they kept the participants sitting in straight rows listening to one lecture after another and there was no chance whatsoever for dialogue.  So after Nyerere had left to go about his presidential business, and Freire had been profusely thanked and then completely ignored, we went to him and asked him if our team could meet with him to discuss some of our  programmes.  He agreed and a few Tanzanians joined us in a splinter group which met with Freire every day for the rest of the conference.  It was a wonderful seminar in which in very informal little gatherings we were able to critique everything we were doing. We learnt an enormous amount.

It was in Zimbabwe in the early 80’s that Sally and I first produced the three Training Manuals calledTraining for Transformation.  We felt that we were much too busy running workshops to turn our attention to writing books, but we eventually took three months off to rewrite the books and we have been astonished ever since at the reception they got.  About 100,000 copies have been sold.  They were translated into Spanish and French, and parts into Arabic and Swahili.  In South Africa they were banned, but  NGO’s just had them reprinted with a different cover called Community Workers Handbooks, leaving out our names, and they were passed around all over the country through radical groups working to end apartheid.  Wherever we go we meet people who have used them, not only in South Africa but in different African countries, Ireland, India, Brazil, Mexico, Cambodia, and now they are being translated into Chinese, Russian and Rumanian.

I happened to be in Tanzania again in 1999 when Nyerere died in London. His body was flown back to Tanzania.  Though there were many expressions of respect for Nyerere, there were also from Westerners many critical and sweeping judgments that `because of his socialist policies Nyerere had not served his people well`.  These were in sharp contrast to what we experienced in Tanzania.

Cranford Pratt, formerly vice Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam, quotes a letter from a friend which expresses what I experienced at the time:

“It was very sad, but also awesome.  The people went in their hundreds of thousands – more – wherever the coffin was.  For the most part they stood in quietness.  The grief was palpable.  Honestly millions of Tanzanians were involved because they wanted to be – to have some way of expressing their feelings.  The police just stood back and let them go where they wanted to, only gently keeping a path clear when necessary.  Some people were crying, but there was none of the formal wailing.  For the most part it was the quietness, the standing in sorrow, and slow movements after the coffin passed, which made me want to cry.  There was no pushing or shoving.           I really cannot express their feelings, or mine.  It was a depth of community mourning in which there was nothing formal or forced.  It was deep individual mourning, as well as a coming together in grief.”

Pratt continues.  “I was struck by the extraordinary contrast between the easy international criticisms, and the profoundly different judgment of the Tanzanians themselves…What were they in their millions responding to which the international commentators were ignoring?  The short answer is that Tanzanians have no doubt that for over forty years they had in their midst a leader of unquestionable integrity, who, whatever his policy errors, was profoundly committed to their welfare.”

Nowadays one hears echoes of Nyerere’s voice in many of the insights of current gurus on development.   Amartya Sen is stressing that “Development is the freedom to live the way you want to live”.  And Arjun Appadurai  stresses that all development starts with the capacity to aspire to a different quality of life.  More and more people are recognizing that there is still much that we can learn from Nyerere, and the world would certainly be a happier place if there were more politicians, who shared his integrity and true concern for the wellbeing of all their people. 

I have called this `lecture`, “The Search for a Convivial Society’.

That phrase ‘the convivial society’ was made popular by Ivan Illich from Mexico in the 60’s.  As far as I know Nyerere never used it.  He spoke of African Socialism, but for him that phrase included so much more than the rather sterile image of harsh and crippling state control that socialism suggests to many people. 

Nyerere was a social democrat in the true sense.  He wrote:  

“ Socialism is not possible without democracy, any more than it is possible without a full acceptance of human equality, regardless of race, tribe, religion or sex.  State ownership and control of the key points of the economy can in fact lead to a greater tyranny if the State is not in fact controlled by the people.  For socialism is not an alternative to political democracy.  It is an extension of it.  It is a system by which political democracy is made an effective reality in the lives of people because of their control of the instruments by which they earn their livelihood.  Socialism in other words means the extension of political democracy to include economic democracy.  It does not exist if either of these aspects is missing”

His vision of African socialism is of a  convivial society.  ‘Con’ means  ‘with’ and ‘vivere’ means ‘to live’, so convivial means to live with one another, but it suggests so much more than simply living side by side. It suggests a quality of enjoying one another’s company, a quality of relaxed relationships with one another, and shared opportunities that enable everyone to blossom and develop their full potential.  That of course does require good education, health care, houses and jobs for all, but it contains very much more than just meeting basic needs.  It involves respect and appreciation, even enjoyment of our cultural differences, and the possibility of enjoying the good and the beautiful things in life.  I think it expresses what many of us longed to experience in South Africa all through the days of `the Struggle`.

 Nyerere’s vision of African socialism, drew on all the strengths of African traditional culture.  Nyerere did not go to school until he was twelve years old. He had grown up in the small, rather remote, village of Butiama in Musoma district.  He was deeply steeped in African values before he had any contact at all with the West.  Though he could later hold his own in any sophisticated international assembly, he never lost the solid values of “ubuntu” which he had learnt as a child.  His vision of African socialism was based on Freedom, and included a strong sense of both human rights and responsibilities. 

Nowadays people have begun to recognize that an emphasis on human rights without an equal emphasis on responsibilities causes enormous problems, creating destructive attitudes of entitlement without obligation.  Every right carries with it the responsibility to respect the rights of everybody else.  This balance between rights and responsibilities was built into The Arusha Declaration, the guidelines Nyerere prepared for the leadership of Tanzania. 

The declaration stressed strongly these values:

-That everyone was expected to do their share of the work that was needed; 

- that no-one had the right to two houses when others were still homeless; 

- that the salaries of those with government positions should be modest, not drawing more than was necessary from the national resources of a poor country. 

Equality and human dignity were such important values for Nyerere that any form of racism infuriated him.  He reacted strongly to any signs of it in Tanzania, and he hated apartheid because of the humiliation it was to the dignity of every Black person everywhere.

I have already said a good bit about my own lifelong learning and the many things that I learnt from Nyerere, Paulo Freire and Steve Biko. 

So far I have said little about gender and yet some of my most important learnings in the last 30 years have been about the importance of gender awareness in all development work. To introduce a discussion on this point we presented a short play based on a short story written more than a hundred years ago by a remarkable White South African woman called Olive Scheiner.

Olive Schreiner  grew up on a farm in the Karroo  in the 19th century.  She wrote The Story of an African Farm, and a number of other novels and stories, but she also wrote some remarkable articles on African Rights and the Rights of Women.  The story is called “A Dream in the Desert”, and can be found in a collection of Schreiner’s work called “A Track to the Water’s Edge”. (It is also in Book 1 of Training for Transformation).

The group responded actively to a series of questions on the story, followed by a brief summary of the insights shared.

 The lecture concluded with a short powerpoint presentation of three of the models, which we find most useful in preparing community workers to contribute effectively towards the building of a ‘Convivial Society’, and which we elaborate in Training for Transformation:

I.  The Five Eggs.  This deals with including and keeping a balance between five different levels of development work : the personal, the small group, the institutions, the wider society and the environment, in any program we run. 

II. The Wheel of Fundamental Human Needs which we adapted from Manfred MaxNeef, focusing on twelve basic physical and psycho-social needs of every individual, every local community, and to which attention must be paid in national planning.

 III. The Dynamic Model adapted by Filip Fanchette from the work of Antonio Gramsci.  It shows the interaction of all the different institutions and elements in society.  All three are very helpful but to cover them fully one needs a three months course and not a one two hour lecture!

Thank you for all participating so fully in this event,  helping us experience conviviality, through humour, analysis, stories, and intense listening and respect for one another.

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