Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-16-2022


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name



Communication and Rhetorical Studies


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Dr. Janie M. Fritz

Committee Member

Dr. Eric Garret

Committee Member

Dr. Richard Thames


Self-reliance, Ubuntu/Utu, Nyerere, African identity, Human dignity, Tanzania, Ujamaa socialism, Transformational rhetoric, Liberation, women empowerment


Julius Kambarage Nyerere (1922–1999) was the first president of Tanganyika in 1961 and the founding father of the United Republic of Tanzania, after having merged Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964. He died from leukemia on October 14, 1999, in London. He was 77 years old. Among the most memorable events in the life of Nyerere is his involvement in the struggle for the freedom of African people from foreign influences.

The goal of this research is to ask and answer to the following question: How does the perspective of Nyerere on self-reliance contribute to the effort of liberating African identity? This research will use the approach of interpretive phenomenological inquiry to explore the contributions of the perspective of Nyerere on self-reliance to the liberation of African identity in the Tanzanian context.

Rooted in African traditional life as it is experienced through the narrative of the Utu/Ubuntu philosophy, Nyerere advances his project of liberating Afric an identity through his transformational rhetoric of self-reliance. Utu/Ubuntu as a communicative and ethical praxis of an African way of life values the role of human community, interdependence, and relationships with other human beings, for the well-being of an individual and person.

The discourse is centered on the theoretical framework of key topics under study, such as the liberation of African identity, self-reliance, human dignity, and transformational leadership. Hence, the discourse touches upon the perspective of Nyerere on a number of subtopics including but not limited to Pan-Africanism, Ujamaa socialism, education for self-reliance, Indigenous culture, international cooperation, etc.

How these topics are connected to the discourse of African identity and to the efforts of liberating African identity, as linked to the contributions of Nyerere, was also explored. This research may eventually contribute to the rhetorical theory as it explores the communicative praxis, which is grounded on traditional African life.