ANC owes Tambo for rich his­tory

Sowetan - - Opinion -

Oliver Regi­nald Tambo was by far one of the ANC’s great­est lead­ing lights. He gave his life to build­ing the ANC from a lo­calised or­gan of the strug­gle to a global force with a diplo­matic corps to ri­val that of many a state.

Tambo gave the ANC the re­spectabil­ity that won it the sup­port of global lead­ers in pol­i­tics, com­merce and civil so­ci­ety. It was through his ef­forts and his abil­ity to har­ness the tal­ents of oth­ers that he was able to leave a mark for the move­ment wher­ever he went.

Known for his con­cil­ia­tory style of lead­er­ship, he was a voice of rea­son that helped var­i­ous group­ings and war­ring fac­tions in ex­ile dur­ing the strug­gle find the com­mon ground.

He made him­self avail­able con­stantly not just to speak but to hear the views of or­di­nary cadres scat­tered across the length and breadth of the con­ti­nent on Umkhonto weSizwe mis­sions.

He sac­ri­ficed kin for coun­try and self for na­tion and he died a mar­tyr’s death, killed by the stress and pres­sure of the very work that he ded­i­cated his life to.

Tambo’s life and legacy stands in stark con­trast to the cur­rent lead­er­ship of the ANC. His star shines a lot brighter against the back­drop of an ANC ad­min­is­tra­tion black­ened by the hue of scan­dal and cor­rup­tion.

In place of Tambo’s self­less sac­ri­fice of per­sonal in­ter­est, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma would rather sac­ri­fice the na­tion Tambo fought so hard for to ag­gran­dise him­self, his fam­ily and al­lies.

While Tambo spent his en­tire life build­ing the move­ment and work­ing for a united South Africa, un­der Zuma, the gov­ern­ing party is all but fall­ing apart, and the na­tion is more di­vided now than ever since the in­cep­tion of democ­racy.

Tambo’s cen­te­nary was marked by the erec­tion of a statue that Zuma un­veiled at OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Ekurhu­leni. This is a fit­ting trib­ute to a man who trav­elled the world spread­ing the val­ues of jus­tice, equal­ity, peace and sol­i­dar­ity.

But a more fit­ting trib­ute to Tambo would be for the move­ment, the once glo­ri­ous ANC he led, to de­nounce the cul­ture of pa­tron­age, rent-seek­ing and cor­rup­tion, and con­duct it­self in a man­ner wor­thy of Tambo’s in­tegrity and stature.

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