Saturday, April 13, 2013

Nyerere Birthday

Ninety one years ago, on this day, April 13, 1922, Julius Kambarage Nyerere was born in Mwitongo, Butiama, just 13 kilometers from Kiabakari. The Father of the Nation, the first President of independent Tanzania and the Servant of God as his beatification process continues in Diocese of Musoma. I was blessed by knowing him in his last nine years of life. Celebrating Holy Mass in his private study in Butiama every day at 7.30am, arriving my motorcycle from Magorombe mission (HQ of Zanaki parish), some 13-14 kilometers from Butiama. Mwalimu was very welcoming and he prepared always everything for the Holy Mass himself. Sometimes he served for the Mass. These were the moments I will never forget. Sharing sometimes meals with him and the family.

Mwalimu came to Kiabakari four times on his private pilgrimages to pray to Divine Mercy. Last time when he came, he agreed to have lunch with us. The next day he was presented with the new house built for him by the grateful nation.

My father and the parish priest of my home parish were able to visit Mwalimu at his home in Butiama in 1995. We shared lunch together with the bishop  of Musoma and the parish priest of Butiama, Fr. Karol Szlachta.

When Mwalimu died on October 14, 1999 in London, and was brought back to Tanzania, I was charged with the preparations of his funeral at his house grounds, close to his parents graves - from Diocese of Musoma side, as I was a dean of Bunda/Serengeti deanery, to which Butiama then belonged, at that time.

Today, as I celebrated the Holy Mass in the morning in the shrine, I thought a lot about those past years, and prayed to the Servant of God for his intercession for Tanzania, for Kiabakari and for our plans of holistic development of our local communities in Butiama district.

Here are some pictures from those memorable moments shared with Mwalimu...

Mwalimu Nyerere with members of Mapinduzi Dodoma netball team
which had training camp at that time in Kiabakari in 1997

Mapinduzi netball team with Mwalimu
in the sitting room of the old house in 1997

Mwalimu Nyerere after Divine Mercy Sunday Mass in 1996
shown around the construction site by me

In the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the shrine

Mwalimu shown around the Divine Mercy Hill in 1996

Our parochial netball team with Mwalimu in 1997

Welcoming Mwalimu and Mama Maria in the shrine

Mwalimu trying to ring the bell
installed in the bell tower a few days before

With my Dad and parish priest at Mwalimu old house in 1995

Bidding farewell to Mwalimu after Holy Mass in 1998

Early days of my knowing Mwalimu and Mama Maria - in his study

Mausoleum in which Mwalimu is buried in Butiama

Mwalimu Nyerere Museum in Butiama

Mwalimu enjoying the gift from our parish

Mwalimu Nyerere Museum in Butiama

Mwalimu Nyerere with Mama Maria and Polish ambassador,
Mr Eugeniusz Rzewuski in the shrine in October 1998
The place where Mwalimu was born in Mwitongo, Butiama

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