Dali Tambo stands in front of the newly-unveiled statue of his father Struggle stalwart Oliver Tambo at OR Tambo International Airport. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/ GCIS
Dali Tambo stands in front of the newly-unveiled statue of his father Struggle stalwart Oliver Tambo at OR Tambo International Airport. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/ GCIS

PICS: SA not forgetting its heroes, says Ramaphosa at OR Tambo statue unveiling

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Oct 27, 2020

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Pretoria – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday officially unveiled a giant statue in honour of late Struggle stalwart and global icon Oliver Reginald Tambo at the OR Tambo International Airport in Ekurhuleni.

The month of October has been declared OR Tambo Month by the City of Ekurhuleni, and the 9m-tall bronze statue of Tambo was unveiled on October 27, marking 103 years since his birth.

“In erecting this statue we affirm the importance of preserving our heritage for the benefit of future generations. But we are also telling the world we have not forgotten our heroes,” said Ramaphosa at the event, which was also attended by Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, members of the Tambo family and numerous government officials.

“We remember them, we want their stories known and we want their lives to inspire and encourage us as we strive together for a better world.”

Ramaphosa thanked the Tambo family “for their co-operation and assistance with this project” to honour their father.

Tambo was born in the little-known rural village of Nkantolo in the Eastern Cape on October 27, 1917. He died in April 1993 just a year before the first democratic election in 1994, and the ANC’s 1994 election victory is attributed to the extensive work of ANC leaders, particularly Tambo and Nelson Mandela.

“Oliver Tambo was the architect of our freedom. Thanks to his activism, people living in these distant lands got to know of our Struggle and gladly joined it. It is therefore most fitting that this statue has been erected here at this airport that bears his name and that is a gateway to the continent and to the world,” said Ramaphosa.

“As they take their first steps on South African soil, visitors to our country will see this magnificent bronze gleaming in the sunlight. This statue is a colossus, as was the man it commemorates. It stands as a symbol of our triumph as a nation over injustice, thanks to the actions of good, brave and principled men and women like Oliver Tambo.”

Ramaphosa said the project had been long in the making and he congratulated the City of Ekurhuleni for “persistence” in bringing it to fruition.

“Mayor Masina, this statue forms part of Ekurhuleni’s bold vision to see our country’s liberation history prominently displayed in the province’s tourism hubs. Like the statue of President Mandela at the Union Buildings in Tshwane, I have no doubt that this one, too, will become a tourist attraction,” said Ramaphosa.

African News Agency (ANA)

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