Tanzania Independence Day 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

Tanzania Independence Day is annually celebrated on 9th December. This day commemorates the independence of Tanzania from the British rule in 1961.  

This year Tanzania will celebrate its 61st year of independence from Great Britain, which ruled the country as Tanganyika until 1961. This a moment of pride and celebrations for the Tanzanian people.  

Tanzania is officially called the United Republic of Tanzania, it is located in East Africa within the African Great Lakes region. Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, is in northeastern Tanzania. Tanzania has a population of about 63.59 million, making it the most populous country located entirely south of the equator. 

Event Tanzania Independence Day
Date December 9, 2022
Day Friday
Significance The day commemorates the independence of Tanzania from the British rule in 1961.
Observed by Tanzania

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Tanzania Independence Day History: 

Tanzania is one of the oldest continuously inhabited areas on Earth. Traces of fossil remains of humans and hominids date back to the Quaternary era. The people of Tanzania have been associated with the production of iron and steel. The Pare people were the main producers of sought-after iron for peoples who occupied the mountain regions of north-eastern Tanzania. Travellers and merchants from the Persian Gulf and India have visited the east African coast since early in the first millennium AD. Islam was practised by some on the Swahili Coast as early as the eighth or ninth century A.D. The Kiswahili language continued to grow as a result of thriving trade with Arabs, Persians and Indians. Today’s Kiswahili language is colored with influence from Arabic, Indian and European languages, but a majority of it remains Bantu. 

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In 1498 Vasco da Gama became the first European to reach the East African coast, and by 1525 the Portuguese had subdued the entire coast. Portuguese control lasted until the early 18th century, when Arabs from Oman established a foothold in the region. However, largely European colonialism in the region began on mainland Tanzania during the late 19th century when Germany formed German East Africa. Following World War I, the mainland came under British control and was ruled as Tanganyika, with Zanzibar remaining a separate colonial jurisdiction. It came under British rule in 1919 and remained until 1961. It served as a military outpost during World War II and provided financial help as well as munitions for Britain.  

Tanzania’s independence movement started in 1954 and was led by Julius Nyerere, who co-founded the “Tanganyika African National Union (TANU)”. He was educated in Uganda and Scotland and began voicing his anti-colonial, Africanist political agenda when he returned to his country. He was inspired by the non-violent independence movement waged by Mahatma Gandhi in India and advocated for a similar resistance in Tanganyika. He was instrumental in uniting several tribal factions over the region to launch a united front against the British. TANU’s main objective was to achieve national sovereignty for Tanganyika. A campaign to register new members was launched, and within a year, TANU had become the leading political organisation in the country. 

As a result, Nyerere became Minister of British-administered Tanganyika in 1960 and continued as prime minister when Tanganyika became independent in 1961. British rule came to an end on 9 December 1961. Elizabeth II, who had acceded to the British throne in 1952, continued to reign through the first year of Tanganyika’s independence, but now distinctly as Queen of Tanganyika, represented by the governor general. Tanganyika also joined the British Commonwealth in 1961. On 9 December 1962, Tanganyika became a democratic republic under an executive president. After the Zanzibar revolution, the archipelago merged with mainland Tanganyika on 26 April 1964. Thus Tanzania was formed. 

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Tanzania Independence Day Significance: 

Tanzania’s Independence Day is about more than national flags and military parades, although those are important as well. This national holiday honors a big milestone in the history of Tanzania, where the struggle against British rule took years but atlast independence in Tanzania was achieved recently enough that the oldest generations alive today may remember when it was first celebrated. Hence this day serves as a moment of pride and celebrations for all the Tanzanians to proudly celebrate their identity and culture with love for the nation by having a chance to show their patriotism for the country.  

Tanzania’s first president, Julius Nyerere, led a non-violent movement against British rule through the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). He united regional tribes, and after independence was gained in 1961, he also played a major role in overthrowing the Sultan of Zanzibar and adding this region to the country. This resulted in the country changing its name from Tanganyika to Tanzania. Unifying Tanzania into one democratic republic was quite an achievement in the diverse region. At the time, over 130 languages were spoken between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. 

For that reason, the national holiday of Independence Day is about more than removing British rule. The people of the United Republic of Tanzania are also reminded of the power of unification and working together towards a common goal. Hence this day gives an important message of unity to the people of Tanzania as no matter how how much different they are at the end of the day they are Tanzanians. Hence this day inspires the people of Tanzania to promote the values of peace, equality and brotherhood with each other for the betterment of the nation and participate in the overall growth and development of the country. 

This day also makes people realize about the importance of freedom. As this same freedom was denied to their ancestors for a very long time and they were largely oppressed and persecuted by the colonizers. The wealth of Tanzanua was looted and plundered by the colonizing forces with no care for the Tanzanian people. So this day also works as a reminder of the past to the Tanzanian people so that they can understand and value the importance of freedom which they have today. In this way, this day also works as memorial to recognize the contribution of the ancestors for their struggle for independence and thus tribute and salutes are offered to all of the heroes and people for their struggle for independence. 

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Tanzania Independence Day Celebrations: 

Independence Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed. It is given a holiday so that people can get a chance to fully participate and enjoy the celebrations of the Independence Day for the day by soending time with their loved ones. 

There have been many festive celebrations related to Tanzanian Independence Day. The President’s address, military parade, and musical performances at Dar-es-Salaam are all expected. But when the country commemorated its 60th Independence Day anniversary, 300 Tanzanians reenacted a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro to symbolize the independence struggle and eventual liberation. 

For this year, President Samia Suluhu Hassan has canceled the state celebrations to mark the country’s 61 Independence Day on December 9 and directed the funds earmarked for the event to be used to construct school dormitories for kids with special needs.

Even if you are outside of Tanzania there are many ways to celebrate the holiday, these includes cooking favorite traditional Tanzanian foods, hosting a potluck for friends and family, watching Tanzanian films, listening to Tanzanian music, or best of all visiting Tanzania during this special period for the country. 

Most Searched FAQs on Tanzania Independence Day: 

1. When is Tanzania Independence Day celebrated? 

Tanzania Independence Day is annually celebrated on 9th December. 

2. What does Tanzania Independence Day commemorates? 

Tanzania Independence Day commemorates the day on which British rule ended in Tanzania and the country became independent. 

3. What do Tanzanians do on Independence Day? 

There is a presidential address made in Dar-es-Salaam, the largest city and financial hub of the country. A military parade also takes place and music groups perform at the stadium in Dar-es-Salaam.

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