|Oliver Reginald Tambo|
Tambo in ANC colours.
27 October 1917|
Nkantolo, Bizana, Eastern Cape, South Africa
|Died||23 April 1993
Johannesburg, South Africa
|Occupation||Teacher and Lawyer|
|Known for||President of the African National Congress|
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Oliver Tambo was born on 27 October 1917, his father was Mzimeni and his mother was called Julia. He was born in the village of Kantolo in Bizana in eastern Pondoland in what is now Eastern Cape. He went to school at Holy Cross Mission School, and then transferred to St. Peters in Johannesburg. After matriculation he qualified to do his university degree at Fort Hare University. In 1940 he, along with several others including Nelson Mandela, was expelled from Fort Hare University for participating in a student strike. In 1942 Tambo returned to his former high school in Johannesburg to teach science and mathematics.Tambo, along with Mandela and Walter Sisulu, was a founding member of the ANC Youth League in 1943, becoming its first National Secretary and later a member of the National Executive in 1948. The youth league proposed a change in tactics in the anti-apartheid movement. Previously the ANC had sought to further its cause by actions such as petitions and demonstrations; the Youth League felt these actions were insufficient to achieve the group's goals and proposed their own 'Programme of Action'. This programme advocated tactics such as boycotts, civil disobedience, strikes and non-collaboration.
In 1955, Tambo became Secretary General of the ANC after Walter Sisulu was banned by the South African government under the Suppression of Communism Act. In 1958 he became Deputy President of the ANC and in 1959 was served with a five year banning order by the government. In 1977 Tambo signed the first solidarity agreement between ANC and a Municipality, the relationship starts a relevant strength of the struggle against apartheid. The Italian town of Reggio nell'Emilia was the first city in the world to sign a pact of solidarity.
In response, Tambo was sent abroad by the ANC to mobilise opposition to apartheid. He settled with his family in Muswell Hill, north London, where he lived until 1990. He was involved in the formation of the South African Democratic Front. In 1967, Tambo became Acting President of the ANC, following the death of Chief Albert Lutuli. In 1985 he was re-elected President of the ANC. He returned to South Africa on 13 December 1990 after over 30 years in exile, and was elected National Chairperson of the ANC in July of the same year. Tambo died aged 75 due to complications from a stroke on 24 April 1993.
In 2004, he was voted number 31 in the SABC3's Great South Africans, scoring lower than H.F. Verwoerd, before the SABC decided to cancel the final rounds of voting. The decision to cancel the results was largely informed by the fact that the majority of black South Africans did not participate in the voting, as SABC 3 caters predominantly for English speakers.
In late 2005, ANC politicians announced plans to rename Johannesburg International Airport after him. The proposal was accepted and the renaming ceremony occurred on 27 October 2006. The ANC-dominated government had previously renamed Jan Smuts Airport as Johannesburg International Airport in 1994 on the grounds that South African airports should not be named after political figures.
Tambo's grave was declared a National Heritage site when he died but lost this status when his wife, Adelaide Tambo died and was buried alongside him. However their grave was re-declared as a National Heritage site in October 2012.
- Oliver Tambo: the exile, The Independent, 15 October 2007
- "ANC leader returns to S. Africa after spending 30 years in exile". Deseret News. 13 December 1990. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- "Oliver Tambo returns from exile". South African History Online. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- Tambo, Oliver (16 December 1990). "Speech by Oliver Tambo at an ANC rally after the close of the National Consultative Conference". ANC. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- Germaner, Shain. "Tambo gravesite re-declared National Heritage site". Eye Witness News.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Oliver Tambo|
- ANC biography
- SAHO biography
- The African Activist Archive Project website includes the audio of a January 1987 Reception Honoring ANC President Oliver R. Tambo hosted by the American Committee on Africa and The Africa Fund with remarks by Harry Belafonte, Jennifer Davis and Tambo. The website includes other material on Tambo.