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  Home > Academic Exchanges
Africa: Uhuru Railway - Monument to China-Africa Friendship (Part II)
2016/08/11

ANALYSIS

By Jaffar Mjasiri

There is no doubt that Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) is a milestone that has accomplished the liberation mission, that had been a commitment of China, Tanzania and Zambia.

We might not know the extent of sacrifice, in terms of resources and human life, that went into this magnificent Tazara project, unless we pursue passionately the history of this railway line.

This week, in this second part of the series, Our Staff Writer Jaffar Mjasiri, presents a summation on the book 'A Monument of China-Africa Friendship' by revisiting the role of Abdulrahman Babu, who was a major influence in China-Tanzania relations.

Babu, then minister in charge of commercial cooperation, was an emissary to China. During the time when the uhuru railway was envisioned by President Julius Nyerere, Babu had strong friendly relations with Chinese leaders.

He was considered by many to be a leftist, since his position on China was clear that he was pro-China. Therefore, let us travel in this long history journey of Uhuru railway initiated by the founding fathers; Nyerere of Tanzania, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and Mao Zedong of China... Many would agree that the reading culture is fading away in our country.

The recent launching of the book titled: A monument to China-Africa Friendship-- First hand Account of the building of Tazara is a blessing in disguise for those who are interested to promote the reading culture in Tanzania. It is not an easy task to fall in love with reading.

Reading culture has to be cultivated and nurtured. But here is an opportunity for our people to read their own history and appreciate what transpired. It is worth noting that both nations, China and Tanzania, have been able to revisit their history through this book and that the monument upon which our bilateral cooperation and friendship with China is found has remained relevant since 1965.

But the challenge remains on the best approach to influence our learning institutions to read this history. Again it starts with this first step which philosopher Laozi (c 604 bc - c 531 bc) has described to us that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. One of the chapters in the book; Background of China's Decision on Assisting the Building of the Tazara, is crucial to readers as it defines our brotherly relations with China.

It explains the pains taking effort by our founding fathers in the three nations. But even more important is the signature tune endorsed today by everyone that a friend in need is a friend indeed.

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