Oliver Reginald Tambo
) was a South African
politician and a central figure in the
African National Congress
born in Bizana in eastern Pondoland in
what is now Eastern Cape.
he, along with several others including Nelson Mandela, was expelled from Fort Hare
University for participating in a student strike.
1942 Tambo returned to his former high school in Johannesburg to
teach science and mathematics.
Tambo, along with Mandela and Walter
, was a founding member of the ANC Youth League
in 1943, becoming its
first National Secretary and later a member of the National
Executive in 1948. The youth league proposed a change in tactics in
the anti-apartheid movement. Previously the ANC had sought to
further its cause by actions such as petitions and demonstrations;
however, the Youth League felt these actions were insufficient to
achieve the group's goals and proposed their own 'Programme of
Action'. This programme advocated tactics such as boycotts, civil
disobedience, strikes and non-collaboration.
In 1955 Tambo became Secretary General of the ANC after Walter Sisulu
was banned by the South African
government under the Suppression of Communism Act
In 1958 he became Deputy President of the ANC and in 1959 was
served with a five year banning order by the government.
In response, Tambo was sent abroad by the ANC to mobilise
opposition to apartheid
. He settled with his
family in Muswell
Hill, north London, where he lived until 1990.
was involved in the formation of the South African United Front
1967, Tambo became Acting President of the ANC, following the death
of Chief Albert Lutuli
. In 1985 he was
re-elected President of the ANC. He returned to South Africa in
1991 after over 30 years in exile, and was elected National
Chairperson of the ANC in July of the same year. Tambo died aged 75
due to complications from a stroke on April
In 2004 he was voted number 31st
SABC3's Great South
, scoring lower than H.F.
, before the SABC
decided to cancel the final rounds of voting, in
light of the embarrassing results.
2005, ANC politicians announced plans to rename Johannesburg
International Airport after him.
The proposal was accepted and the
renaming ceremony occurred on October 27
. The ANC-dominated government had previously
renamed Jan Smuts Airport to Johannesburg
International Airport in 1994 on the grounds that South African airports
should not be named after political figures.
- ANC biography
- SAHO biography
- The African Activist Archivewebsite has audio of remarks
by Oliver R. Tambo, Harry Belafonte, and Jennifer Davis at a
Reception for Oliver Tamboin New York on
January 23, 1987. It has a 1963 photo of Oliver R. Tamboin Riverdale, New York and 1987 photograph of
Jennifer Davis and Oliver Tambo. The website
includes online archival materials of the solidarity movement in
the U.S.A. that supported the struggle against apartheid and for
African freedom, including 2,000 documents, posters, streamed
interviews, t-shirts, photographs, campaign buttons, and