Opening and Welcome to the celebration of the 106th Anniversary of Oliver Reginalt Tambo organised by the Oliver Tambo Foundation by Seiso Mohai, Chairperson of the ANC Parliamentary Caucus

19 October 2023

Programme Director,
The Speaker of the National Assembly,
The Chairperson of the NCOP
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly,
Chief Whip of the Majority Party,
Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party,
Members of the Oliver Tambo Family,
Distinguished Members of the Oliver Tambo Family Foundation,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Excellencies and Dignitaries present here today,
The Leadership of the African National Congress, the South African Communist Party,
Congress of South African Trade Union, the South African National Civic Association,
our Leagues and the broader formations of the Mass Democratic Movement,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Fellow comrades and compatriots,

Welcome to this auspicious occasion that marks and celebrates the 106th anniversary of the tireless champion for the victory of the Africa’s cause for his entire life, from whose abiding legacy of selfless service to the people of South Africa and the African continent at large we continue to draw inspirations, the late Oliver Reginald Tambo. As we would know from his many documented speeches and writings, Oliver Tambo would refuse to separate his life and role in the liberation struggle from the collective of his generation, the likes of Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Lillian Ngoyi, Moses Kotane, Ruth Mompati, Mama Sophie De Bruyn, Themba Harry Gwala, Moses Mabhida, Joe Slovo, Ruth First, Frene Ginwala, Mama Winfred MadikizelaMandela, Joe Cgabi and many others whose sacrifices have laid the foundation we are enjoying today.

For this, on behalf and in the name of Oliver Tambo, we salute these heroes and heroines of our struggle for their selfless service to our people and the country during the most difficult of times. Programme Director, Oliver Tambo would refuse any temptation to down play the selfless sacrifices and courageous role of the masses of our people as architects of their own future in the liberation of this country, and for this, as we lower our banners in his respect and memories, we equally salute the sacrifices made by our people, the women, the workers, the youth, the religious community, the students, the death defying combatants of Umkonto We Sizwe, and the rural and urban poor of our people.

Programme Director, this is especially so, as this month of the 106th anniversary of Oliver Tambo coincides with the intensification of the apartheid violence against our people and the ANC in particular, during the 1980s as marked by among others; the series of cross border raids and bombing of the ANC facilities and offices in the frontline states by the apartheid security apparatus, the one being in Maputo on October 17, 1983.

We are gathered here to honour Oliver Tambo, a revolutionary democrat and progressive internationalist, who championed the cause of human rights, not only in South Africa, but across the globe.

We do this confident that should Oliver Tambo be alive, his voice in support and solidarity with the people of Palestine and the call for peaceful dialogue for the resolution of the conflict between Palestine and Israel would be the most vocal. We thank the family of Oliver Tambo, the late Mama Adelaide and her children for their generosity of sharing a husband, a father a grandfather, an uncle, a father-in-law and a brother with the people of South Africa and the African continent at large.

It is therefore fitting that, as the global humanity continues to face multiple challenges, ranging from deepening inequality between the poor South and the rich North, geopolitical tensions and rivalries, pandemics, natural disasters, renewed upsurge of patriarchal domination in the form of Gender-Based Violence in South Africa, and the persistence of poverty, unemployment and inequality, we reaffirm the leadership values of Oliver Tambo at the cutting edge of the renewal of the African National Congress, a movement that Oliver Tambo dedicated his entire for in service of the people.

We do this cognisant of the bumpy road ahead as those who have engineered and benefitted from the weakening of this organisation of Oliver Tambo, through among other things; corruption, will not accept the renewed ANC lying down. We call on all South Africans, especially the youth as the future leaders, to learn, emulate and reclaim the leadership values of this revolutionary titan in our ongoing task of democratic renewal and consolidation.

In honour of this giant of our struggle today, we declare to the Tambo Family and the people of South Africa as the ANC under the leadership of comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, that the only price we can bet is to reaffirm the battle cry that reverberated throughout the three decades of Tambo’s leadership: “Backward Never, Forward Ever, Victory is Certain!!!”

Thank You Programme Director