Adelaide Frances Tambo
18 July 1929|
Top Location, Vereeniging
31 January 2007 (aged 77)|
Johannesburg, South Africa
|Occupation||Anti-Apartheid activist, politician|
|Known for||Anti apartheid activist|
Adelaide "Mama" Tambo (18 July 1929 – 31 January 2007) was a prominent anti-apartheid activist, political exile, and regarded as a hero of the liberation struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
She was involved in South African politics for five decades and was married to the late Oliver Tambo, president of the African National Congress (ANC), from 1956 until his death from a stroke in 1993.
Born on 18 July 1929 in Top Location as Adelaide Frances Tshukudu, she was affectionately known as Mama Tambo in South Africa. At the age of 10, following a raid by the police on a riot in Top Location a police officer had was killed, and Adelaide's ailing grandfather, aged 82, was among those arrested and taken to the town square. Her grandfather collapsed and she had to sit with him until he regained consciousness. After the incident, she vowed to fight the police till the end. She attended the St Thomas Practising School in Johannesburg and Orlando High in Soweto.
She started working as nurse at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. In 1944, she worked as a courier for the ANC. She joined the ANC Youth League at 18, which she was tasked to open branches in Transvaal and elected chairperson of the George Goch branch. She left the country along with her husband, Oliver Tambo in 1960 and worked as a courier for her husband. She was also one of the founding members of Afro-Asian Solidarity Movement and Pan African Women's Organization (PAWO) in 1963.
Following the end of apartheid, she served as a member of parliament from 1994 to 1999.
Adelaide Tambo received the Order of the Baobab in Gold, one of the highest honours bestowed by the post-1994 South African government. The South African Anglican Church awarded her the Order of Simon of Cyrene, the highest award given to laypeople for distinguished service.
Personal life and death
She was buried next to her husband in her home town of Wattville on 10 February 2007. The service was held in a stadium and led by Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane. Among the thousands of mourners were presidents Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela.
- "Adelaide Tambo". The Independent.
- "Adelaide Frances Tambo". South African History Online.
- Margie, Orford (2006). Life and Soul: Portraits of Women who Move South Africa. Juta and Company Ltd. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-770-13043-2.
- "Struggle hero Adelaide Tambo dies". News24. 1 February 2007. Archived from the original on 19 February 2007.
- "Profile of Adelaide Tambo". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 1 February 2007.
- "Anti-apartheid stalwart mourned", BBC News Online, 10 February 2007
- "ANC mourns 'heroine of the nation'". IOL. 1 February 2007.
- Obituary, The Independent, 2 February 2007
- Obituary, The Times, 2 February 2007
- Obituary, The Guardian, 2 February 2007