Malcolm X and Tanzania
Malcom X came to Tanzania in October of 1964. The visit came after the OAU Summit of July 1964 in Cairo, Egypt. Malcolm X concluded after the Summit that Tanzania was an important ally in the struggle against racialism and imperialism. He wanted to establish stronger ties with the country's leaders.
Malcolm had a difficult time at the OAU conference in 1964. Most African leaders did not support Malcolm's efforts to address racial discrimination in the US at the Summit. The US State Department lobbied hard and convinced many African leaders not to take Malcolm X seriously. Abdulrahman Babu linked up with Malcolm X at the conference and the two became friends. Malcolm X and Babu made a case to President Nyerere on the resolution. Nyerere took up Malcolm's proposal and convinced the OAU leaders to pass a resolution on racial discrimination in the US. The final resolution was not exactly what Malcolm X wanted initially; however, it was a major victory considering the resistance he faced at the conference. The passage of the resolution was a victory since for the first time a body of independent African nations joined hands with African Americans in condemnation of racial discrimination in the US. The resolution would not have passed had it not been for Nyerere!
Malcolm X decided to visit the Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar as it was known at the time. He landed in the capital city on October 9, 1964. Malcolm X held meetings with various leaders in Dar es Salaam, including Oscar Kambona and Babu. He also had a meeting with TANU leaders at the home of Bibi Titi Mohamed. The highlight of his visit to Dar es Salaam came on October 13 when he was whisked away to meet President Nyerere. Malcolm X described Nyerere as "very shrewd, intelligent, and disarming;" it would be the last time the two leaders met.
The interactions between Malcolm X and Tanzania government officials continued in the December of 1964 after he returned to the US from Africa. He took a brief trip to Europe and returned to New York on December 6, 1964. The FBI had him under surveillance and an agent was at the airport when Malcolm X landed. According to the FBI, Malcolm X met Tanzanian diplomatic officials at the airpot in New York on December 6. He left the airport on one of three cars registered to Tanzanian diplomats and he went directly to the home of a Tanzanian diplomat. Babu was in New York at the time.
The full details of the links between Malcolm X, Babu, and the Tanzanian diplomats in New York and at the 1964 Cairo Summit have never been fully disclosed. Malcolm X or El Hajj Malik el Shabazz was assassinated on February 21, 1965, a little over three months after his last meeting with Tanzania officials.
© Azaria Mbughuni
For more on Malcolm X in Tanzania, check out my article: http://www.businesstimes.co.tz/index.php…