chapter  14
19 Pages

A Global Education: Cold War Networks, Imperial Angst, and the Development of Tanzanian Schools, 1960–1970


In 1959, as Tanzania prepared for self-rule, British colonial attaché Douglas Williams noticed the huge numbers of East African students applying to a new American program known as the African-American Students Foundation (AASF), which chartered a plane to fl y East African students to America. Writing to his superiors in London about this program, Williams realized this project “dramatizes the surge of American interest in Africa.”1 This new program also demonstrated the interest East African students had in studying in America; intent on using this new opportunity for their own advantages and highlighting the transnational nature of education during the last years of colonial rule and the early post-colonial period. Upon achieving independence in 1961, the Tanzanian state under Julius Nyerere positioned itself at the forefront of international relations by engaging with, providing shelter for, and supporting anti-colonial movements throughout southern Africa2 While some Tanzanians claimed these associations, especially with FRELIMO of Mozambique, ultimately cost more than they helped, this foreign policy also furthered their country’s position to the extent that, although poor and African, it could not be ignored by others and necessitated greater interest by the superpower countries of the world. With a strong statesman in Nyerere, who enjoyed a reputation as a philosopher-king, and an activist foreign policy, Tanzania proved to be at the forefront of international relations in the African Cold War and began campaigning for transnational resources, such as foreign aid and volunteers, through which to build its education system and other domestic programs.