Benjamin William Mkapa was born on 12 November 1938, in Ndanda, Tanganyika. Educated at Makerere University College, Mkapa held positions in the civil and foreign service in the early 1960s. Later he was appointed the managing editor of two national newspapers, served as press secretary for President Nyerere in 1974, and was a founding director of the Tanzania News Agency in 1976. Beginning in the late 1970s, and continuing until his election as president, Mkapa was appointed to a series of high level ministerial and ambassadorial positions. Mkapa served abroad as high commissioner to Canada and ambassador to the United States, during which time he also continued his education at Columbia University. Mkapa has been married to Anna Joseph Maro since 1966. The couple has two sons, Nico and Steve.