Paul Bjerk

Paul Bjerk is an associate professor of African history at Texas Tech University, and was recently a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Iringa in Tanzania. He is the author of Building a Peaceful Nation: Julius Nyerere and the Establishment of Sovereignty in Tanzania, 1960–1964.

Listed in: African Studies · African History · Biography, Heads of State




With vision, hard-nosed judgment, and biting humor, Julius Nyerere confronted the challenges of nation building in modern Africa. Constructing Tanzania out of a controversial Cold War union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar, Nyerere emerged as one of independent Africa’s most influential leaders. He pursued his own brand of African socialism, called Ujamaa, with unquestioned integrity, and saw it profoundly influence movements to end white minority rule in Southern Africa.

“Bjerk succeeds in debating the legacy of Nyerere through six short chapters. The book recognises the highs and lows of Nyerere’s illustrious political careers and balances this in a manner befitting a great African statesman … This book offers that opportunity to understand Tanzania’s political culture and history through the life and times of Mwalimu Nyerere.”

Africa at LSE