North West pays tribute to Oliver Tambo

OR Tambo in the Netherlands in 1983. Photo: Nationaal Archief NL

OR Tambo in the Netherlands in 1983. Photo: Nationaal Archief NL

The North West government is set to pay tribute to former president of the ANC Oliver Reginald Tambo through awards for public servants as well as maths and science students.  This was announced by North West premier Supra Mahumapelo when he delivered his State of the Province Address in Taung, North West last week.

On October 27 this year, South Africa will celebrate the centenary of the birth of Oliver Reginald Tambo, who was born on that day in 2017 in Bizana in the Eastern Cape.

Mahumapelo commended the ANC for dedicating 2017 “ to remembering and celebrating the life of this hero of our people, the gentle revolutionary whose outstanding leadership and dedication to struggle guided our people to freedom in 1994.”

Mahumapelo noted that Tambo, named “the people’s teacher and lawyer” because of his educational background,  abandoned the comforts he could have acquired and enjoyed and instead volunteered and sacrificed himself and his family to the struggle against apartheid. “His life is an infinite lesson of humility, selfless, dedication and service to his country and its people.”

“In celebrating the centenary anniversary of the birth of Oliver Tambo, we call upon all the people of Bokone Bophirima [North West] to recommit ourselves to the project of increasing the pace of constructing the national democratic society whose foundation Oliver Tambo guaranteed.”

The premier then announced that to mark the centenary, the province will launch the OR Tambo Public Service Excellence Awards “in order to promote, inspire and produce a cadreship of [revolutionary technocrats] in the public service who will be truly dedicated to the new culture of [changing] how government functions and delivers to the people.”

The province will also recognise the OR Tambo Top Maths and Science Achievers for all grade 12 learners in all its public schools “to fulfil Oliver Tambo’s wish to see the African child master science and maths subjects,” according to Mahumapelo.

The OR Tambo initiative will also launch the first cohort of learners who will be products of a year-long dedicated strategy aimed at identifying and giving support throughout the year to all learners from grade 9 to 12, with the possibility of placing struggling day learners into boarding schools in consultation with their families for intensive support.

As part of this initiative, nongovernmental organisations, retired professionals, university lecturers and other professionals will be recruited to provide extra classes over weekends, evenings, holidays and with the cooperation of school governing bodies, during dedicated school periods.

Tambo was the ANC’s longest serving president, leading the party through most of its period in exile and banishment from 1967 to 1991. He died in April 1993, a year before South Africa became a democracy.