Lion of the revolution: Oliver Tambo born 100-years-ago today

Lion of the revolution: Oliver Tambo born 100-years-ago today

Media jostle for position to photograph Oliver Tambo as he walks with family to the second floor balcony of Jan Smuts airport on December 13 1990.

Tambo has been ANC president for most of the 30 years he’s been in exile.

These are the first minutes of his return.

He looks down at the lively, welcoming crowd below.

He smiles, salutes and waves.

His wife, Adelaide, joins him, and their children take a peek.

Lifelong friend Nelson Mandela looks on.

OLD FRIENDS Tambo, with Nelson Mandela next to him, receives a gift

OLD FRIENDS Tambo, with Nelson Mandela next to him, receives a gift 
Image: TJ LEMON

They began South Africa’s first black legal firm, Mandela and Tambo Attorneys, in 1952.

In 1960 the ANC was banned.

Tambo fled the country and Mandela faced charges of treason.

Tambo led the ANC from exile in Zambia; Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island.

With the unbanning of the ANC in 1990, prisoners were released and exiles returned.

Friends and families were reunited.

IN SOWETO Tambo arrives at the unveiling of Hector Pieterson's tombstone

IN SOWETO Tambo arrives at the unveiling of Hector Pieterson’s tombstone 
Image: TJ LEMON

Days after Tambo’s return he was welcomed at a rally attended by 60,000.

He appeared at other events after that but was partly disabled by a stroke in exile, rendering him unable to speak.

On April 23 1993, Tambo died from a massive stroke, aged 75.

He fought for but never got to vote in the elections held one year later.

In 2002 the airport was renamed OR Tambo International.

Article Sourced from Times Live