On this historic day, we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Zanzibar Revolution, also known as Mapinduzi ya Zanzibar, which took place on January 12, 1964. This significant event led to the overthrow of the Arab regime and Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah by the Black African population of Zanzibar. To honor this occasion, H. E Suluhu Samia, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, invited President Kaguta Museveni of Uganda to join in the commemorative activities.
The celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Zanzibar Revolution began three weeks ago, encompassing a countrywide initiative of environmental cleaning and launching various projects across Tanzania. Today, January 12, 2024, marks the apex of these celebrations, where leaders and citizens alike come together to remember this pivotal moment in history.
The Zanzibar Revolution, lasting nine hours in total, unfolded with the leadership of John Okello, a 25-year-old Ugandan hailing from the Albetong District in Northern Uganda. Okello rallied approximately 600 men, arming them with sticks, stones, pangas, axes, bows, and arrows, and initiated the uprising against the oppressive regime.
It is important to note that this uprising occurred just one month after Zanzibar gained independence. Under the cover of darkness, on the evening of January 11, 1964, Okello and his men descended upon Stone Town, the Sultan’s residence. Okello had kept his plans secret, ensuring his operation would be conducted swiftly and with determination.
The impact of the Zanzibar Revolution extended beyond the island itself. Tanganyika, which was a separate nation at the time, was inspired by Okello’s liberation of Zanzibar. His courageous actions acted as a catalyst, fostering the process of uniting Tanganyika and Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania. This unification was officially established in March 1964, marking a significant milestone in the region’s history.
As President Museveni arrives in Zanzibar to join President Samia and the people of Tanzania in commemorating this momentous occasion, it serves as a reminder of the strength and resilience of the African people. The Zanzibar Revolution stands not only as a milestone in the fight against oppression but also as a symbol of unity and the pursuit of freedom.
Through this celebration, we acknowledge and honor the bravery and determination of John Okello and the many others who participated in the revolution. Their actions forever changed the course of history, laying the foundation for a united and prosperous Tanzania.
These commemorations also serve as a reminder of the power of unity and the importance of cherishing our past. By looking back upon the Zanzibar Revolution, we are reminded of the struggles faced by our ancestors and the progress that has been achieved. It is a time to reflect on the achievements made in the last 60 years and consider the steps we need to take to build upon this legacy.
As the flames of the commemorative torch burn bright on this 60th anniversary, may it ignite the spirit of progress, unity, and freedom in the hearts of all Tanzanians. Let us remember the sacrifices made and ensure that the legacy of the Zanzibar Revolution lives on, inspiring future generations to strive for a better tomorrow.