Ujamaa is the Swahili word for " village community, family, sense of family and community spirit ." He called one of the first president of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere, embossed model of society that has been applied to 1985 in Tanzania. Ujamaa is often equated with the term " African socialism."

Ujamaa socialism

With the Arusha Declaration in 1967 Nyerere introduced for the first time before his ideas of an African socialism. As two tags were this Ujamaa and self-reliance ( Swahili: kujitegemea, German as: " self-responsibility, self-reliance " ) coined. While the idea of Ujamaa was nationally limited, the idea of self-reliance ( kujitegemea ) spread relatively quickly even beyond the borders of Tanzania.

Nyerere, who grew up as a chief's son, and later studied and became a teacher, was very influenced by his past. Already in his time as a teacher (about 1949-1952 ), he advocated to eliminate social class differences.

Ujamaa meant for Nyerere to give rise to village communities. Few people or large families who often live far apart should get together in large communities. The following guidelines should be observed:

  • Mutual respect
  • Shared ownership
  • Obligation to work

For the families, this should have many advantages, such as the expansion of technology in agriculture, division of labor and production planning.

While Nyerere 1968 still spoke of the transition should not be done by force or even violence, was in reality a different picture: By 1970, a voluntary resettlement took place. 1970-1973 there was a so-called " frontal approach" ( German: " frontal approach "). Since 1973 lived in the Ujamaa villages after six years only 15 per cent, around two million, of the population, until 1977, eleven million people were forced partly by military force to move to the Ujamaa villages. Many were very closely the villages have only establish themselves and for months or even live for years under simple conditions. Due to the forced relocation exports broke in the agricultural sector so strong that the administrative costs for some products exceeded the export earnings.

Other measures of Ujamaa socialism were the nationalization of the banks and educational and land reforms.

On the part of the Muslim population there was initially great support for the Ujamaa socialism. In consequence of the economic problems that Tanzania experienced in the 1970s and 1980s, but later great Disappointment with them about this policy and the broad support fell for it.

In a 1979 paper published in the sociology of Michaela Frey Hold the problems of the Ujamaa experiment be made clear:

" It showed how young officials on government orders fulfilled a job that did not like them, in villages, of which they knew little. The case studies show that many villagers were willing to engage in the Ujamaa experiment, but that they have been repeatedly disappointed by unfriendly actions of the government officials or by the kind of help that they had requested, and that was not a priority for them. "

Policy of self-reliance

Under the slogan of self-reliance or Kujitegemea Nyerere aspired to an independent Tanzania, which should be largely autonomous and therefore independent of economic and other assistance from other countries.

While this program could be implemented in the education sector, it failed in the economic field.


The levels of adult literacy rose from 10 percent in 1960 to 79 percent in 1979. Enrollment rates in primary schools increased from 25 percent ( 1960) to around 94 percent ( 1979).

In the reign Nyerere, there was virtually no social class differences. The ideas of equality and community have been accepted by the general population.


The economic situation in Tanzania deteriorated continuously during the period of Ujamaa project. Finally, it came in 1985 to a confrontation with the World Bank. Nyerere retired voluntarily from the president.

Development assistance to Tanzania:

This growing dependence on foreign aid in Tanzania was in contrast to the idea of ​​self-reliance. Negative factor in particular the Uganda Tanzania War in 1978, the Tanzania temporarily isolated within the Organization of African Unity.