Liv­ing OR Tambo's legacy

Public Sector Manager - - Message From The Minister -

“Agreat gi­ant that strode the globe like a colos­sus” – those were the words one of South Africa's icons – former Pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela – used to de­scribe an­other of the coun­try's great­est sons, Oliver Regi­nald Tambo.

This year and in October, in par­tic­u­lar, South Africa cel­e­brates the cen­te­nary of this “great gi­ant”, who was born on 27 October 1917 and was the long­est serv­ing Pres­i­dent of the ANC, hold­ing that po­si­tion from 1969 to 1991.

It's an op­por­tune time for us to re­flect on the life of one of the found­ing fa­thers of our democ­racy and the many les­sons we can learn from him.

Tambo was a free­dom fighter, global fighter against racism and sex­ism, sci­ence teacher, choral mu­sic lover and com­mu­ni­ca­tor par ex­cel­lence. He was a global colos­sus who strode the globe so that we can be free, pro­mot­ing African unity and deep­en­ing ties of sol­i­dar­ity be­tween us and the world.

Tambo was self­less, driven by a mis­sion to en­sure the lib­er­a­tion of not only South Africa, but other na­tions as well.

He was also a pi­o­neer, form­ing the first black law part­ner­ship with his great friend, Madiba, in 1951.

In 1960, af­ter the Sharpeville Mas­sacre, the ANC feared in­creased at­tacks on their mem­bers and

Tambo was asked by the ANC to travel abroad and set up its in­ter­na­tional mis­sion and mo­bilise in­ter­na­tional opin­ion against the apartheid regime, ac­cord­ing to the Oliver and Ade­laide Tambo Foun­da­tion.

“Dur­ing his time abroad he was in­stru­men­tal in the es­tab­lish­ment of ANC mis­sions glob­ally, cov­er­ing 27 coun­tries by 1990. He helped lobby sup­port for the ANC and raised the in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion of the

ANC to one of great pres­tige.”

Tambo and his fam­ily spent 30 years in ex­ile. When he went into ex­ile he un­der­stood that upon his shoul­ders rested the re­spon­si­bil­ity of cre­at­ing a uni­fied front in the fight against apartheid. He spent his life driven by a revo­lu­tion­ary fire and spirit to bring peo­ple to­gether to over­come this in­jus­tice.

If you speak to the many peo­ple he had a pro­found im­pact on, or those who had the priv­i­lege of learn­ing at his feet, they will tell you that Tambo nur­tured and brought the best out of those around him.

His warmth and his wis­dom earned him the love and re­spect of his com­rades. He be­lieved in the value of ed­u­ca­tion and the strength of di­ver­sity. He un­der­stood the strength of women and cre­ated op­por­tu­ni­ties for them to prove their worth.

Th­ese are all qual­i­ties we should all as­pire to as we go about our work in the pub­lic ser­vice.

Sadly,Tambo never got to see the birth of our democ­racy, as he suf­fered a fa­tal stroke on 24 April 1993. But we are for­ever in­debted to him and his legacy lives on in our Con­sti­tu­tion.

A num­ber of events will take place this month to com­mem­o­rate the legacy and cen­te­nary of Tambo. But, as pub­lic ser­vants, we should ask our­selves what are we do­ing as in­di­vid­u­als to honour his legacy.

We should em­brace Tambo's val­ues daily in the work that we do, as th­ese will help to pro­pel us for­ward to unite and build the coun­try that he en­vi­sioned.“A sin­gle, united, demo­cratic and non­ra­cial state, be­long­ing to all who live in it,” as he said in April 1983.

Min­is­ter of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions

Ayanda Dlodlo.

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