70 Stories: Savji Dusara and Political Shifts in Tanzania

Kansas City and Cultural Exchange in 1964

Looking back now, it’s evident that 1964 was a pivotal period in world history. The civil rights movement was reshaping American society, the space race was in full swing, and the decolonization of Africa was well underway. But for Savji Dusara, a student from Tanganyika (now Tanzania) who visited Kansas City on a short-term exchange in 1964, the future — and his role in shaping it — was still uncertain.

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How Did Savji Dusara Reach Kansas City from Tanzania?

Dreams of Visiting the United States

While studying in England on a scholarship, Savji harbored dreams of visiting the United States. Recognizing the value of cultural exchange, he reached out to the American Embassy in London, advocating for connections between American families and Tanganyikan students to facilitate mutual learning opportunities.

Connecting with Global Ties KC

That’s when Savji was connected with Global Ties KC, then called the Committee for International Students and Visitors, who made his journey possible. Global Ties KC organized host families, curated community programming, and immersed the visiting students in Kansas City’s diverse cultural landscape. In return, Savji and his peers shared insights about their homeland with Kansas Citians, fostering cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

The Right Place at the Right Time: Kansas City, A Part of History

How Did Kansas City Influence Tanzanian History?

But Savji didn’t just leave Kansas City behind when he returned home — he took his experiences with him.

Interacting with people from diverse backgrounds, races, and religions in KC, Savji was inspired. He expressed to a newspaper at the time his hope that his group could take their learnings back to Tanganyika, a country made up of Muslim, Hindu, and Christian communities.

Related: 70 Stories: Fatimata M’Baye and Human Rights & Gender Equality

What Were the Political Shifts in Tanzania in 1964?

Return to a New Nation

While Savji may not have realized it at the time, his visit to Kansas City coincided with significant political shifts back home.

Although Savji had grown up in the colonial territory of Tanganyika, he returned home in 1964 to the newly independent United Republic of Tanzania under President Julius Nyerere, a key leader in the African independence movement. Finding themselves in a transformative era, bright young Tanzanians like Savji played pivotal roles in shaping the future of the continent — as pioneering young people so often do.

Related: Global Ties KC Welcomes African Students on the Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program

How Can You Join the Journey with Global Ties KC?

Connect with Future Leaders

Want to connect with the next generation shaping world history? Get involved with Global Ties KC here.