Freedom Park celebrates the Year of OR Tambo
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
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.”