21 September 2017

South Africa: President Zuma Honours Tambo in New York

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Oliver Tambo, late former president of the African National Congress

President Jacob Zuma has celebrated the life and times of former ANC President Oliver Tambo by hosting a gala dinner in New York.

The President hosted the dinner on the sidelines of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 72) on Wednesday.

Government declared 2017, "the Year of O.R. Tambo", which coincided with the stalwart's centenary birthday.

President Zuma said the dinner was a befitting honour of a man who dedicated his life to the liberation, freedom and equal opportunity of all South Africans.

"It is appropriate that we are holding this celebration here at the Headquarters of the United Nations, because a significant part of O.R.'s contribution to our democratic, non-racial, free South Africa, was through his mobilisation of international solidarity against apartheid."

Tambo is the late former President of the African National Congress and one of the key founding fathers of South Africa's liberation and constitutional democracy.

Tambo was the longest ever serving president of the ANC from 1969 to 1991. He has been described by President Jacob Zuma as a "solution-oriented leader who always sought to move forward on the basis of building consensus".

Tambo, who mobilised the international community to support the struggle against apartheid, was synonymous to the corridors of the world body at a time while he was campaigning for the liberation of South Africa from the apartheid regime.

In his toast remarks at the dinner, President Zuma, who recalled Tambo's life, said he left a lasting legacy, not only for the African National Congress, but for South Africa, and the world at large.

He said government drew inspiration from his exemplary leadership and vision.

"Comrade O.R.'s exemplary leadership as an international statesman and consummate diplomat shaped the vision of a post-apartheid democratic South Africa and the country's foreign policy, and the principles on which it is grounded. These are patriotism, loyalty, dedication, ubuntu, equity, integrity, and Batho Pele meaning putting people first."

President Zuma also thanked the international community for its support during the liberation struggle.

"As we celebrate his life, we thank all of you, the international community, because of your support and solidarity during that most difficult period in the history of South Africa. We thank you because you chose to care, as Madiba said on his release."

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