Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent
The Southern African Research and Documentation Centre premises in Belgravia, Harare were yesterday re-named the Julius Nyerere House at an event officiated by visiting former Tanzanian president Dr Benjamin Mkapa.
The premises were renamed in honour of the contributions made by Dr Nyerere, who was Tanzania’s founding president and chairman of the Frontline States.
Dr Mkapa said accurate information disseminated by African states was critical in quelling the propaganda propagated by the continent’s detractors.
As such, he said, documented evidence at institutions such as SARDC was vital in the spreading of information to the outside world. He said with accurate information, the continent’s former colonisers would not misrepresent facts.
“Only remaining for me is to say l hope the member States of SARDC can move forward to strengthen the capacity of this centre, but also to drive the member States to exchange more information about their development challenges, about their development strategies, about their development paradigms, so that we can truly move together in unity towards greater freedom of our people,” he said.
“l hope this challenge will be taken seriously indeed because ultimately, the unity we are able to canvass, to mobilise for freedom, for independence, we can also mobilise and canvass for development.
“We can also exchange information about the development strategies we have, we can also use that information to harmonise the development activities that will strengthen that unity going forward and that is the challenge there is now.”
Recently, SARDC, together with four other publishers produced a book titled: “Julius Nyerere: Asante Sana, Thank You Mwalimu”.
The book is a compilation of statements and speeches Dr Nyerere made over a 40-year period from 1959 to 1999.
Dr Mkapa chronicled how he and the late David Martin came up with the idea of establishing a research centre in Southern Africa.
Martin was husband to SARDCfounding director Ms Phyllis Johnson. Mrs Johnson expressed gratitude to Dr Mkapa for his immense contribution in the establishment of the research centre.
“I want to pause here to remind the youth here present, who were born later, to just reflect on the fact that Southern Africa was under colonial rule and apartheid destabilisation, and that the place you have inherited to build on was first built by others, many of whom gave their lives fighting for you and against a system of inequality,” she said.
“We continue to value the ideals and principles of Mwalimu Nyerere — of unity, integrity and knowledge. Our work is rooted in his determined and positive outlook when he often said,“It can be done, play your part.”
Mrs Johnson presented Dr Mkapa with the book on Dr Nyerere which was launched last month by President Mugabe who penned its foreword.
Dr Mkapa, who arrived in the country on Monday, has since met President Mugabe and toured the First Family’s philanthropic projects in Mazowe.
He is expected to deliver a lecture at the Zimbabwe Defence College and visit Manicaland Province before leaving on Monday.