The year 2017 marks the Centenary of the late Oliver Reginald Tambo, who was one of the key drivers of South Africa’s liberation and one of the founding fathers of our constitutional democracy. Described by former President Nelson Mandela as “A great giant that strode the globe like a colossus”, O.R. Tambo served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1969 to 1991, making him the longest serving President of the party. O.R. was a solution-oriented leader whose mission was to attain liberation for South Africa, and other nations alike, during his 50-odd years of political activism in the ANC. Born on the 27th of October 1917, the Foundation’s Centenary celebrations seek to remember his life, the values he espoused, and his commitment to the anti-apartheid movement, both during his time in South Africa and during his years in exile.
As this is the Centenary year of Oliver Tambo, the Foundation has partnered with the University of Pretoria’s Human Rights Centre to host a series of lectures, commemorating and reflecting on the various facets of Oliver Tambo, as well as the impact he has had on South Africa and world. The partnership will result in a four-part lecture series.
The first lecture in this series was delivered by Justice Albie Sachs on the 22nd of February 2017.
The second lecture was delivered by retired Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
The third lecture in this series was delivered by Justice Albie Sachs on the 25th of April 2017.
In South Africa many girls miss out on around 25% of learning every month because they do not have any access to or money for sanitary towels. With these statistics in mind and the impact it has girl’s education the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation has set out on a mission to deliver sanitary pads to three schools.
The Foundation has chosen to assist three school in Nkantolo, Eastern Cape, the birthplace of Oliver Tambo, to provide each girl learner with a year’s supply of sanitary towels each. There is a national need for the provision of more affordable sanitary towels, especially for girl learners. The Foundation has partnered with the Imbumba Foundation in the provision of sanitary towels and health talks at the end of May 2017.
On the 11th of February the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) held their annual Ubuntu Awards at the CTICC in honour of O.R.’s Centenary. DIRCO dedicated their entire ceremony to the legacy of Oliver Reginald Tambo. The O.R. Tambo Lifetime Achievement Award for 2017 was awarded to Ma Gertrude Shope.
The British High commissioner, Dame Judith Macgregor, held their annual Eve of Parliament Reception on the 8th of February, at her residence in Cape Town. This year, she made special mention of the relationship between England and Oliver Tambo in the fight against apartheid. The Tambos were in exile in London, in Muswell hill, for 30 years.
As part of the celebration of Oliver Tambo’s centenary, the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation together with the British High Commission and the Trevor Huddleston memorial centre held an evening of recollection and reflection on the life of Oliver Tambo on the 22nd March 2017.
The Foundation together with the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), the Mail & Guardian, Kaya fm, and the Wits School of Governance, hosted the Critical Thinking Forum on the 16 th May 2017. The topic: “Leadership Lessons Learnt from OR Tambo”. The event was facilitated by John Perlman, and for the first hour, was broadcast live on Kaya FM.
South Africans should work together in developing a truly liberated, non-racial, united and equal society, says Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe.
Tambo and Mandela had a unique relationship that started when they first met at the University of Fort Hare, and continued throughout their lives until Tambo’s passing in 1993. Theirs was a strong bond that saw them rise to be international leaders, showcasing selflessness, humility and collaboration beyond life’s challenges. They managed to stay friends and comrades even when they were separated with Mandela being incarcerated on Robben Island for 27 years, and Tambo in exile for 30 years. Their life story demonstrates true friendship and exemplary leadership, sealed by shared values for justice and human rights.