African leaders unveil statue of late Tanzanian president at AU

By Xinhua
On 19 February 2024 at 11:01

African leaders attending the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) on Sunday unveiled a life-size statue of the late Tanzanian President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, erected on the premises of the pan-African body’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

Nyerere is credited as being at the forefront of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), a predecessor to today’s AU, founded in 2002. He was also one of the founding fathers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

"Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s statue recognizes his contribution to African liberation, unity and peace, and manifests our pride in our heritage," Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan said ahead of the unveiling ceremony.

Nyerere’s sculpture is the third statue erected on the premises of the AU headquarters next to the late Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, and the late Ghanaian President, Kwame Nkrumah.

"None of us can have permanent prosperity without a prosperous Africa. It is true to say our uniqueness matches our inter-dependence and therefore complementing political liberation with economic transformation is important for our future to be secured," Hassan said.

Present at the unveiling ceremony were Angolan President Joao Lourenco, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat.

"It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to this ceremony for one of Africa’s most iconic figures, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. The legacy of this remarkable leader encapsulates the essence of pan-Africanism, profound wisdom, and service to Africa," Faki said.

The AU Commission chairperson said Nyerere played a pioneering role in the establishment of the OAU in 1963, a milestone event in pursuit of African unity.

The sculpture was designed, built, and transported to the AU headquarters in cooperation with the SADC, Nyerere’s family, and the Tanzanian government.