Some Tanzanians Express Concern Mwalimu Nyerere Statue in Ethiopia Lacks Late President’s Features;  ‘They have changed him’, One Tanzanian Complains – With Update

Picture of ‘the Mwalimu Nyerere we know’.

Tanzanians have expressed on social media profound gratitude to the African Union for erecting a statue of  their country’s first President , Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere. But complaints are rampant the statue does not look like Mwalimu.

“…following the big event which has taken place in Ethiopia, that of the inauguration of a statue to honor the father of our nation, we have received this event with respect; we as a nation have been highly respected.  We say thank you  to African countries for seeing  the need to do that,” an FM radio presenter says in a skit with a team of colleagues.

Then the radio journalists announce a plan to honor founder of their radio station by erecting a statue they do not agree looks like the founder. The dispute is expressed in the Kiswahili language.

Screenshot of Mwalimu Nyerere Photo of his statue in Addis Ababa as pictured by BBC News

The widely circulated skit, picked from a printshop owners WhatsApp group  called PaperSharks is considered by some a satire against the Mwalimu Nyerere statue in Addis Abbaba  which some Tanzanians have expressed concern does not  correctly shows  Mwalimu Nyerere’s facial features.

Two observers  discuss the Mwalimu Nyerere statue  in another social media group; the first contributor says  “that picture of  Mwalimu is not Ok.” The other discussant agrees:  “That is very true.  I even wonder if those who represented us were ashamed to speak the truth”.

In another discussion from a proffessional group one contributor says “is this him really? It looks like they have changed him. Did they involve us? Or did they just draw the picture as they felt.”

The other respondent  interjects: “No; this is not him. I am writing to complain”.

These complaints notwithstanding, however,  the BBC article carrying the picture of Mwalimu Nyerere Statue in Addis Ababa speaks highly of the Tanzania founding President.  The article reads in part:

“…when he became prime minister of what was then Tanganyika in 1961, his first task was to unite the new country, made up of more than 120 different ethnic groups, including Arab, Asian and European minorities.

“He managed to do this by promoting the use of Swahili as a common language and through his vision of “African Socialism” or ujamaa….  In 1964, Tanganyika united with the Zanzibar archipelago to form Tanzania.”

The Article adds:  “He wanted Tanzania to be self-reliant, rather  than depending  on foreign aid and investment….  he oversaw a huge improvement in healthcare and literacy and remains widely revered in Tanzania.”

Madaraka Nyerere, one of Mwalimu Nyerere sons has in a clip circulating on social media defended the disputed statue,  arguing that specialists were involved in creating the statue. He also says he was present during the process as member of a special Government team involved.

Meanwhile in an argument on Clouds Tv, Tanzania’s leading drawing artist  best known as Masoud Kipanya has trashed the Addis Ababa Mwalimu Nyerere statue  by comparing the Nyerere statue with  how a good statue should appear.  Siting the exactness of other statues,  such as the statue of Thomas Jeferson in the United States, Masound Kipanya says a statue should leave no doubt about whom it represents, implying that this particular Nyerere statue fails the test.  A Clouds TV presenter in discussion with Masoud says in South Africa they have created Nelson Mandela statues which leave no doubt the statues represent Mandela.