Oct 192020
 

Assembly Hall, Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LX

Assembly Hall
Assembly Hall

In 1952, Assembly Hall was the location of protest meetings against the Central African Federation (CAF), where Edinburgh alumni Julius Nyerere and Hastings Banda, later Presidents of independent Tanzania and Malawi respectively, spoke. The CAF was a colonial federation of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi) between 1953 and 1963. Those in favour claimed the territories were economically interdependent and thus vulnerable individually. However, Afrikaners and Black Africans were vehemently opposed to a white minority rule of a few Europeans over millions of Africans. In Scotland, Nyerere and Banda mobilized opposition to the Federation. In February 1952, they spoke out against the Federation at Assembly Hall. The Scotsman newspaper described Banda’s claims “that the federation of these territories was not in the best interests of the people…They would lose the right to form their own Government within the Commonwealth.” Nyerere condemned the Federation as “another example of white domination over Africans.” The meeting at Assembly Hall passed a unanimous resolution against the Federation and resulted in the Scottish Council on African Questions, “set up to combat racism and colonialism in Africa.” The CAF was dissolved when Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia gained independence in 1963.

Administrative divisions of the CAF
Administrative divisions of the CAF
Share #curiousedinburgh:
Oct 152020
 

2 Palmerston Road, Edinburgh EH9 1TN

2 Palmerston Road, site of Colonial House
2 Palmerston Road, site of Colonial House

In the 1940s, ‘Colonial House’ at 2 Palmerston Road was the residence of “all sorts of colonial persons” and was the location for meetings of both the Afro-Scottish and the Edinburgh African Association. These hostels were cheaper than private accommodation and offered relief from loneliness. “Above all, the hostels eliminated that spectre of colonial student life: ‘the intolerant or grasping landlady.” Julius Nyerere stayed at Colonial House when he arrived to study Economics and History at Edinburgh on a colonial scholarship in 1949. At the time, he was one of only two East African students in Scotland. Nyerere led Tanganyika to independence in 1961 and was President of Tanzania (the name given to the territory after the 1964 union with Zanzibar) until 1985. At Edinburgh, Nyerere took courses in Political Economy, Social Anthropology, Economic and British History, and Moral Philosophy. Margaret Bell, who taught him British History, commented that his writing style was often “the best in her group.” According to historian Tom Molony, “Edinburgh was a place where Nyerere enjoyed new levels of intellectual freedom.” Today, Nyerere is remembered for his elaboration of African Socialism, which informed his plans for the social and economic development of Tanzania.

Julius Nyerere
Julius Nyerere
Share #curiousedinburgh: