In 1926, Bibi Titi Mohamed was born in Dar es Salaam -Tanzania’s 1st capital- to staunch muslim parents.
Bibi’s father was a livestock trader, mother; a farmer & Bibi was of the Mmatumbi ethnicity.
Using religion as his excuse, Mohamed’s father withdrew his daughter from school, purposefully holding her back. Afraid it would deter his child from her religious beliefs. However, upon his demise, Bibi’s mother who valued education, proceeded to enroll her daughter in school.
But it wasn’t until 1950 Bibi Titi Mohamed’s story really began; making her the most famous woman in Tanzania. It was just after World War II, colonized African countries had put up with enough & a wave of nationalism washed the continent. On July 7th, 1954 Mohamed helped form, the then major political party; Tanganyika African National Union(TANU). It was lead under Julius Nyerere “Mwalimu” & Nyerere later went on to become President.
The visibility of women was just was important to Nyerere as it was to Mohamed. In 1955, she was asked to chair Umoja wa Wanawake wa Tanzania (UWT). The women’s wing of the party. Mohamed’s task was to rise the national consciousness in Tanzanian people while pushing back against the exploitive forces of colonization. In just under 3 months, Mohamed had enrolled over! 5,000 women. The UWT was excellent at communicating the ideals of TANU to the masses. In 1957, before Mwalimu headed for a scheduled tour in the US, he suggested Mohamed do the same in Tanzania. Tour Musoma to continue to propagate TANU ideals. At this point Bibi Mohamed’s popularity had spread like wildfire. So much so she presumed a better knowledge for the English language could do her well. Bibi Mohamed left Tanganyika for the UK, spending a duration of 10-weeks; enough time to complete a course in English.
It’s important to note that Mohamed was already rallying the people without total command of the English language. She was described as a dynamic & convincing speaker.
Mohamed was elected unopposed as the leader of Mafia & Rufiji -then- districts in Tanzania, in 1961. December 9, 1961 is Tanzania’s independence day. President Mwalimu appointed Bibi Mohamed as Assistant Minister in the Ministry Of National and Cultural Development of Tanzania. Everything seemed to be proceeding on smoothly. & in 1964, due to the major success of Mohamed & the UWT , women were permanently written in the constitution of TANU. This formally entitled women all membership rights & stated that every branch in the political organization must have a women’s wing.
Unfortunately, in October, 1969, Bibi Mohamed & former Labour Minister Michael Kamaliza were arrested along with 4 army officers. The charges were related to conspiracy to overthrow the government. The trial lasted 127 days & they were found guilty, sentenced to life imprisonment.
Bibi Mohamed was place under house arrest, she was released after 2 years thanks to a Presidential pardon.
Bibi Mohamed lived the rest of her life in solitude, her husband abandoned her during the trial & she didn’t stay in contact with friends. Maintaining a low profile.
Bibi Mohamed passed away on November 5, 2000, from heart complications in a hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bibi Mohamed was married off at the age of 13 before she was ever able to pursuit her dreams or an education. Under Bibi Mohamed’s initiative, Bibi’s daughter;Halima, escaped the same fate.
Because of her we can.