The University of Pretoria celebrated the life and times of Oliver Reginald Tambo yesterday with the unveiling of a bust of Tambo, and the launch of the book Oliver Tambo’s Dream written by his old friend and colleague, Judge Albie Sachs.
Director of the Centre for Human Rights, Professor Frans Viljoen, said it was only fit that the bust was placed in the library, which had been named the Oliver R Tambo Law Library about 10 years ago.
“We are immensely proud that we could have named our law library after Tambo. As you know, the first black law firm of attorneys in South Africa was the Mandela and Tambo law firm in 1952.
“We are also proud that we actively took part in the celebrations of the lives and times of Tambo and the centenary celebrations,” Viljoen said.
Sachs said: “I think of the many dreams Oliver Tambo would have had, one would be that the book on his life would be launched at the University of Pretoria. In those days, the University of Pretoria was a major intellectual centre, the centre for apartheid and the ideas of apartheid.
“So this is one dream that Oliver Tambo had that apartheid could transform into anti-apartheid,” Sachs said as he held up the book.
“Tambo worked very hard on the constitution of the ANC and he believed in the importance of saying what you mean, clearly and accurately,” Sachs said.
The book is a collection of the 2017 OR Tambo lecture series presented by Sachs, commemorating Tambo’s centenary. The first lecture was presented at the UP on February 22 this year, followed by three more lectures at universities in the Western Cape.
Sachs, who represented many black activists, went into exile in 1966 in England and then later lived in Mozambique where the apartheid security police almost killed him in a bomb attack. He lost his right arm and the sight in one of his eyes.
The bust was donated to the library by the UP department of arts. Prof Theo Van Wyk, director of the department of arts, said Tambo was a great champion of the arts, especially music. Linda Vilakazi, chief executive officer at the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation, said the book helps people understand who Tambo really was.
Article authored by Jacques Nelles and Virginia Keppler