Oliver Tambo

"It is our responsibility to break down barriers of division and create a country where there will be neither Whites nor Blacks, just South Africans, free and united in diversity." -Oliver Tambo

Life and Accomplishments

Oliver Tambo was born October 27, 1917 and died April 24, 1993. During his time alive Tambo started the first all black law firm in South Africa with Nelson Mandela, represented the African National Conference(ANC) overseas, helped form the ANC Youth League with the help of Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and Anton Lembede, and witnessed the political end of Apartheid in 1990. Tambo was born to poor parents but was still educated. He attended the Anglican Holy cross missionary school in Eastern Cape, St. Peter's Secondary School, and studied at the College of Fort Hare, the same college Nelson Mandela also attended. It was in 1942 after meeting Walter Sisulu that Tambo's involvement with the ANC began.

Tambo in the Anti-Apartheid Movement

It was through Walter Sisulu that Tambo met Anton Lembede, Jordan Ngubane and Nelson Mandela. Tambo started visiting the house of the president of the ANC to help devise a plan to revive the ANC. Tambo soon became dissatisfied with the moderate ANC and in December 1943 his idea for the ANC Youth League was accepted by the ANC and Tambo became the secretary. In 1956 Tambo along with other anti-apartheid activist were arrested and tried for treason. All those accused were acquitted. In 1958 Tambo became the deputy president of the ANC and was the representative of the ANC overseas. It was because of this that Tambo was out of country during the Sharpeville Massacre, the banning of the ANC, and arrests of many ANC leaders. In 1963 of the remaining free ANC leaders Tambo was the most important. Tambo became the president of the ANC after Luthuli was killed by a train. During his time as president he moved the ANC away from peaceful protest and more towards armed protest. He lead the ANC in sabotaging government buildings and police stations. It was through his leadership that the ANC stayed afloat despite the government's repeated attempts to suppress it. Tambo continued the ANC's attacks on government buildings until 1989. It was in 1989 when Nelson Mandela was released from prison, taking the position as president of the ANC and Tambo took the position as Chairman.
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MYANCTV The legacy of Oliver Reginald Tambo