In South Africa, Oliver Tambo was the untitirng global soldier for the African National Congress when most of his colleagues were in Jail back at home. His colleagues who llived, worked or met the South African leader, clergyman and comrade talk about Tambo, the anti-aparthed campaigner, and Tambo the man.
They remember this ANC stalwart and celebrate his impact on South Africa’s future – and his unyielding commitment to the ANC. Among others Adelaide Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Sam Nujoma, and Trevor Huddleston, unite in praise of the man who did not live long enough to see a free South Africa.
Z Pallo Jordan, Minister of Arts and Culture, who also edited Oliver Tambo Remembered, says that by the time Tambo took over the helm of the ANC, he was a seasoned political leader with two decades of active engagement behind him. He understood his task as two-fold: to rebuild the ANC as a mass movement inside South Africa, while enhancing its capacity to lead an armed insurgent movement from outside South Africa’s borders.
He knew that a spontaneous revolution was unlikely if not impossible. Making a revolution, he reasoned, required steady but sure work to bring together a number of factors, chief amongst which was organizing the most militant opponents of apartheid to mobilize the people into action to challenge the National Party’s regime.
He goes on to say that these were some of the qualities which enabled Oliver Tambo to blossom into a truly great leader of the ANC and the South African liberation movement.
It was those qualities that endeared him to all the ANC ranks, from its leadership to the youngest cadre.
The book which was launched at his would be 90th birthday in 2007 evoked praise of the humble leader who fought tirelessly as the voice of the anti-apartheid movement while living in the UK and regularly travelling all over the world to look for more friends and supporters of the struggle.
It provides a unique insight into Oliver Tambo’s leadership qualities – his intellect, his modesty, his loyalty, his inspiration, his refusal to resort to populism, his willingness to respect and to listen to others whatever their status in the movement and, above all, an absolute determination to achieve the vision of the new South Africa as enshrined in the Freedom Charter.
Oliver Tambo’s humanity shines through the pages of Oliver Tambo Remembered. It documents how he refused to put self before the ANC or to allow the ANC to put its interests before those of the people of South Africa. On the 90th anniversary of his birth, all of those in the African National Congress should honour Oliver Tambo’s memory, by pledging to strive to embed these qualities into the root and branch of the movement throughout the country...