Free­dom Park cel­e­brates the Year of OR Tambo

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Free­dom Park was a fit­ting venue to hold the re­cent OR Tambo Cen­te­nary Talks, with the key­note ad­dress by Min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency for Plan­ning, Mon­i­tor­ing and Eval­u­a­tion Jeff Radebe.

The year 2017 has been de­clared The Year of OR Tambo.The Cen­te­nary Talks were hosted by the Na­tional Her­itage Coun­cil of South Africa with its part­ners Free­dom Park, the Oliver and Ade­laide Tambo Foun­da­tion and the South African Mar­itime

Safety Au­thor­ity.

OR Tambo, Min­is­ter Radebe said, was “the glue that held the var­i­ous strands of the na­tional demo­cratic revo­lu­tion to­gether for al­most 30 years. It was be­cause of his eru­dite lead­er­ship that he brought back the ANC in­tact af­ter decades of ex­ile.”

Tambo took over the reins of the ANC from Chief Al­bert Luthuli 50 years ago – in July 1967. He would also have turned 100 this year, on 27 Oc­to­ber.

Min­is­ter Radebe said the rea­son lead­ers like Tambo were cel­e­brated was “not to wal­low in the glory of our past, but to use the past as a means to in­spire our fu­ture growth as a na­tion”. He spoke of the vi­sion and val­ues that drove Tambo. “One of the prin­ci­ples that un­der­gird Tambo's lead­er­ship was the unity of peo­ple of the world against op­pres­sion.”

A global leader

Tambo was sent into ex­ile af­ter the Sharpeville mas­sacre in 1960. His mis­sion was to es­tab­lish a for­eign mis­sion and es­ca­late the strug­gle to an in­ter­na­tional level. In the role of a diplo­mat, he also rep­re­sented South Africa on the global stage in fo­rums such as the then Or­gan­i­sa­tion of African Unity and the UN. Many coun­tries recog­nised him as a diplo­mat and ac­corded him the sta­tus of a head of state.

Min­is­ter Radebe spoke mov­ingly about the man he came to know in ex­ile: “He proved to be a com­pas­sion­ate hu­man be­ing and a great lis­tener who val­ued di­verse opin­ions. He was very pa­tient with us as young cadres.”

Tambo, a vi­sion­ary leader, had warned that po­lit­i­cal free­dom would be mean­ing­less with­out eco­nomic free­dom. “It for this rea­son that we need all hands on deck in our en­deav­our to pro­mote in­clu­sive growth and trans­form­ing the econ­omy and so­ci­ety for the ben­e­fit of all South Africans,” the Min­is­ter said.

“We must pay heed to Tambo's warn­ing and work to­gether in de­vel­op­ing a truly lib­er­ated, non­ra­cial, united and equal so­ci­ety.

“Our coun­try is cur­rently fac­ing a litany of chal­lenges that re­quire us to join hands and march in uni­son to­wards our com­mon des­ti­na­tion of a bet­ter and more pros­per­ous South Africa.”

We owe it to Tambo to re­main uni­fied, Min­is­ter Radebe said. “One of Tambo's most out­stand­ing traits was that of a uni­fier.The most fit­ting trib­ute that we can pay to him is to re­in­force unity, so­cial co­he­sion and na­tion­hood amongst all South Africans.”

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