Tuesday, the 8th of May, saw the launch of a new book: Conversations with Uncle O.R. Tambo – Childhood Memoirs in Exile, and a wonderful addition to the Tambo Centenary Archives.
The book, edited by Ambassador Lindiwe Mabuza, is a collection of over thirty letters to O.R. by contributors who were born, raised and educated in exile. “At times praising, at time questioning, other times lamenting presenting present circumstances, many of the letters as, ‘Where are you now when we need you most, Uncle Comrade President Tambo?'”
Published by Real African Publishers and Memory is our Heritage, with the financial assistance of the Department of Arts & Culture, the book is a passion project of Amb. Mabuza, and includes letter from Bheki Langa, John Kubayi, Kananelo Sexwale, Lawson Naidoo, Lyndall Shope-Mafole, Pulane Kingston, Sisonke Msimang, Thami Ntenteni, Tsheli Lujabe and Vuyo Skweyiya.
The launch was attended by Former First Lady Mrs Zanele Mbeki, Mam’ Gertrude Shope, Advocate Dali Mpofu, Bulelani Ngcuka, Saki Macozoma, Murphy Morobe, and Dali and Rachel Tambo, amongst many others. But the largest contingent was that of the children of exile – “children”, one might say, lucky enough to have interacted acted with- and be influenced by the inimitable leader. As Sisonke Msimang puts it in her letter:
“Uncle O.R.’s greatest lesson to us all was that we were important even when the powerful would have preferred us to doubt our own importance. That is a lesson – luminous and fragile and more resilient than we might have guessed – that shines across the ages.”
The book is available at Exclusive Books stores nationally.
Photos ℅ Kaya FM, Tladi Khuele, Nkululeko Ngubane and Ambassador Cecilia Julin