Motlanthe honours Oliver, Adelaide Tambo

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pretoria - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on Saturday unveiled statues of Oliver and Adelaide Tambo in the garden of his official residence.

Mr Motlanthe's official residence, known as Oliver Tambo House, is on the corner of Church and Dumbarton streets in Pretoria.

The Deputy President said the public must reflect on the legacy of the two struggle heroes as the country prepares for the next phase of its democracy.

"At a time when we are taking stock and preparing for the next phase of our democracy, it is important that we reflect on their legacy, their leadership and their life and pay tribute to the parents of our revolution," he said.

Mr Tambo, or OR as he was known, travelled the world mobilizing support for the struggle against apartheid.

"Through his efforts, apartheid was declared a 'crime against humanity," said Mr Motlanthe, adding that his ideals were being lived out in the country's Constitution which advocates a just, inclusive and equitably society.

Mr Tambo, who was detained in Robben Island for many years with former President Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu, died from a stroke on 24 April 1993.

Mr Motlanthe said Mama Tambo's dedication, passion and commitment to the struggle for freedom served to inspire many and ensured that that OR provided the inspiring leadership to the rest of the movement as he did.

Former Deputy President Baleka Mbete, who attended the unveiling, described Mama Tambo as a mother and political activist who fought tooth and nail for human freedom.

She said that today, government and society enjoyed a historically unparalleled practice of non-sexism partly due to the legacy people Mama Tambo left.

The couple met at an African National Congress gathering in Johannesburg and married in December 1956, during the marathon Treason Trial.

Mama Tambo became an ANC Member of Parliament in the country's first democratically-elected Parliament in 1994 and died in 31 January 2007.

The couple's son, Dali Tambo said government had brought together a couple who loved each other through thick and thin.

Though they lived separately for many years, they shared one common sense that the people of South Africa must be free and treated justly and equally, he said.

Designer of the bronze statues, Jacquey Theron, told BuaNews that it took three weeks to put together the statues.

When crafting the statues, she said she worked with a great passion because she knew about the history of the couple and the role they played in creating the new South Africa.

Among the dignitaries who attended the event was former Minister of Social Development Zola Skweyiya, former Minister in the Presidency Assop Pahad and Minister of Public Works Geoff Doidge.