ANC owes Tambo for rich history
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.