Tanzania’s inaugural First Lady, Mama Maria Nyerere is clocking 93 years old, just as the country ushers into the New Year 2023.
One of her sons, Madaraka Nyerere posted on his twitter page, announcing his mother’s important milestone.
She was born on the New Year eve of December 31, 1930 then known as Maria Waningu Gabriel Magige.
Mama Maria served as the inaugural First Lady from the days of Tanganyika in 1964 all the way to November 1985 when her husband, who was the country’s first President, Julius Kambarage Nyerere, retired from office.
Maria was the seventh out of the nine children of Gabriel Magige and his wife Hannah Nyashiboha.
Mama Maria Nyerere was educated at the White Sisters’ School at Nyegina, before moving to the Ukerewe School, and then later on joined the Sumve Teacher Training College where she attained a teaching certificate.
Like her husband, Maria is a teacher by profession. She started her teaching career at the Nyegina Primary School in Musoma District of the now Mara Region and bowed out when her husband became head of state.
She married Julius Nyerere in 1953, when the latter was busy fighting for independence.
Mwalimu Julius and Maria Nyerere have seven children, five sons and two daughters.
She is immortalized in a pop song ‘Kwaheri Mama Maria Nyerere,’ recorded by Orchestra Maquis Original in 1985 when she was bidding the state house farewell.
One of her sons, Makongoro Nyerere remains in the political arena; he is the current regional commissioner for Manyara.
Makongoro previously served as member of the East African Legislative Assembly and before that a short stint as Member of Parliament for Arusha Urban constituency.
Mwalimu Nyerere died 23 years ago, on October 14, 1999, while undergoing treatment at Saint Thomas Hospital in London. He was 77 years old.
Mama Maria Nyerere is a person who always prefers to keep a low profile.
Most of the time she can be found at her Butiama Village residence and farm.
Meanwhile the head of state who succeeded Mwalimu Nyerere in 1985, Retired President Ali Hassan Mwinyi will be celebrating 98 years next May 2023.