Oliver Reginald Kaizana Tambo

Oliver Reginald Tambo Timeline 1917 - 2011

1900s

1917
27 October, Oliver Reginald Tambo (OR) is born in the village of Kantolo, Mbizana, in the Mpondoland (eQawukeni), region of the Eastern Cape.  His mother, Julia, was the third wife of Mzimeni Tambo, son of a farmer and assistant salesperson at a local trading store.

1920s

1928
April, Tambo and his brother, Alan, enrolled at the Anglican Holy Cross missionary school at Flagstaff in the Eastern Cape.

1930s

1933
Tambo and some friends form the Bizana Students Association (BSA). He was elected Secretary
1936
November, Writes his Junior Certificate (JC) examination, along with all black and white students in the then Transvaal (now Gauteng) and  passes the JC examination with a first class
1938
December, Enters for the matriculation examinations which he achieves with a first class pass

1940s

1942
Is unanimously elected as Chairperson of the Students' Committee of his residence, Beda Hall, University of Fort Hare. 
Graduates with a BSc degree and but is expelled for political activity just as he embarks on a Diploma in Higher Education.
Meets Walter Sisulu in Johannesburg
1943–1947
Tambo taught Mathematics and Physics at St Peter’s Secondary School in Rosettenville, Johannesburg
1944
September, Under the leadership of Anton Lembede, a group of young people form the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). At its official inauguration , OR is elected as its secretary
1947
Tambo becomes a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC
1948
Tambo serves his law articles with a company of lawyers, Max Kramer and Tuch.
1949
Tuch and OR joined the law company of Solomon Kowalsky.
1950s
1951
24 July, Qualifies as an attorney
1952
Establishes the first Black legal partnership with Nelson Mandela
The state prevents Walter Sisulu from taking an active part in ANC affairs, Tambo becomes the Secretary General of the organisation
1954
Receives restriction orders from the State
1955
Tambo is engaged to Adelaide Tsukhudu, a nurse
1956
Tambo comes to live in Wattville, Benoni
6 December, Two days before the Bishop of Johannesburg was due to prepare him for ordination as a priest; Tambo is arrested along with 155 others on charges of high treason
1959
Heads the ANC’s Constitutional Commission

1960s

1960
Tambo is detained in South West Africa (Namibia). He was there to defend activists who were arrested for political activity
27 March, Tambo goes into exile. He is driven by Ronald Segal , the editor of the liberal journal, Africa South,  across the Bechuanaland (now Botswana)  border. 
1 May, Tambo’s first visit to northern Europe was to Denmark, at the invitation of the Prime Minister
15 September, Adelaide and the children land in London.
1961
5 August, Delivers a speech, Racial Problems in South Africa, at the Second Pan-African Youth Seminar in Dar Es Salaam.
1962
January, Meets Mandela and Joe Matthews in Dar es Salaam
Thabo Mbeki meets Tambo in Dar es Salaam, after Duma Nokwe and Govan Mbeki instruct him, on behalf of the ANC, to leave South Africa and go into exile
1 May, Addresses the annual gathering of the Swedish Social Democrats
August, The Swedish Prime Minister Tage Erlander officially receives Tambo
1962
October, An ANC consultative meeting in Lobatse, Botswana confirms an ANC’s mandate, that OR was to head the ANC’s diplomatic mission and to communicate to the world the political situation in South Africa. 
1963
Visits the USSR and China to gain support from these two countries.
8 October, Addresses the United Nations General Assembly Special Political Committee appealing for the freedom of all South Africans
29 October, Delivers a Statement at the Meeting of the Special Political Committee of the United Nations General Assembly: United Nations must take Action to Destroy Apartheid
Delivers a speech: Comments and Observations on Proposals for a United Nations Security Council Resolution on Apartheid
1964
Addresses the UN Special Committee on Apartheid on the situation in South Africa.
Presents a paper entitled: Apartheid - the Indictment
12 June Gives a press release in Dar es Salaam
December Gives a press release
Delivers a New Year Message to U Thant, Secretary-General of the United Nations
1965
Sets up military camps in Tanzania and Zambia.
1967
Following the death of Chief Albert Luthuli, Tambo becomes the Acting President of the ANC
1968
June Presents a paper: Present Stage of the Struggle against Apartheid in South Africa in Stockholm
18 June Presents a statement Need for New Level of International Action against Apartheid in Stockholm
26 June Delivers a Message to the People of South Africa
29 June Writes a Letter to U Thant, Secretary-General of the United Nations
13 - 16 September Delivers a joint statement We Shall Win with leaders of Liberation Movements at the fifth Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African Unityin Algiers
Tambo accompanies the Luthuli Detachment, an MK unit, on reconnaissance expeditions to the Zambesi River, sleeping in the open with the group
1969
March Issues a directive Concerning the Nature of the Forthcoming ANC Consultative Conference in Morogoro, Tanzania
25 April – 1 May Delivers a public statement: Intensify the Revolution at the 'Morogoro Conference', Morogoro, Tanzania
26 June Delivers a message over Radio Tanzannia to the people of South Africa: A Call to Action
16 December Delivers a broadcast Capture the Citadel on the eighth anniversary of the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe

1970s

1971
1 January Delivers a New Year Message to the ANC External Mission
January Delivers a message: Bitter Battles to Cometo the meeting of the Council of the Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Organisation in Tripoli
18 March Delivers an address, Apartheid - a Threat to Africa's Survival, under the auspices of the Nigerian National Committee on Apartheid in Lagos
16 December Delivers a statement, Mobilise Our Black Power, to the people of South Africa on the 10th anniversary of Umkhonto we Sizwe
1972
8 January Delivers a speech on the sixtieth anniversary of the ANC in Lusaka
1973
2 April Delivers a tribute to the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid
9 April Delivers a statement, Mobilise World Support for African Liberation Struggle, on behalf of Liberation Movements, at the International Conference of Experts for the Support of Victims of Colonialism and Apartheid in Southern Africa, Oslo
11 April Delivers a statement, Increase Assistance to Liberation Movements at the International Conference of Experts for the Support of Victims of Colonialism and Apartheid in Southern Africa
11 April Delivers a statement, Move from Condemnation to Confrontation of Apartheid and Colonialism in Committee II of the International Conference of Experts for the Support of Victims of Colonialism and Apartheid in Southern Africa, Oslo
20 June Delivers a speech at meeting to commemorate South Africa Freedom Day and to condemn the 600-year alliance between Britain and Portugal
11 July Delivers a statement, Prisoners of Apartheid at a Press Conference in Addis Ababa
Delivers an address, Black Reaction to Apartheid, 1948-1973 to the annual meeting of the African Studies Association in Syracuse, New York
December Delivers a Christmas and New Year Message, distributed illegally in South Africa
1974
26 June Delivers a Message to the People of South Africa
July Delivers a Message on the Twentieth Anniversary of the Tanganyika African National Union
Writes a Letter to the OAU Secretary-General, Mr. William Eteki Mboumoua
1975
April Delivers a Presidential Address to the Extended Meeting of the National Executive Committee of the ANC
7 – 10 April Delivers a Statement at the Ninth Extraordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the Organisation of African Unity, Dar Es Salaam
31 October Delivers a Statement by the ANC on the Invasion of Angola by South African Troops
1976
Following the Soweto student rebellion, Tambo approaches the international community for assistance. He also approaches the Tanzanian Government for a piece of land to establish a school for exiles coming to the camps.
March Racists Humiliated - Tambo interviewed by Michael Wolfers for Sechaba
August Delivers a message to the People of South Africa
26 October Delivers a statement, Support our People until Power is Restored to Them at the plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York
1977
Addresses the UN Security Council, the first head of a liberation movement to do so
8 May Delivers a speech at the Funeral of M.P. Naicker in London
Tambo interviewed in Luanda after Summit Meeting of Presidents of Frontline States and Southern African Liberation Movements
23 August Delivers a statement, Crucial Stage in the Struggle for Liberation of Southern Africa at the World Conference for Action against Apartheid in Lagos, Nigeria
December Delivers an address, A Future Free of Exploitationto the First Congress of MPLA in Luanda
1978
An ANC delegation, headed by Tambo visits Vietnam, where they attended numerous lectures and meets with activists.
Addresses the first conference of the European Economic Community (EEC as it was then known) in Ireland
February Gives an interview South Africa After Soweto to World Marxist Review
1 March Delivers a statement, We Shall Win, at the Meeting of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid to launch the International Anti-Apartheid year in New York
26 May Delivers an oration at the Funeral of Moses Kotane
1979
8 January Delivers a message to the People of South Africa on the 67th anniversary of the ANC
26 January Delivers a statement at the Freedom Rally Organised by the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement in Dublin
27 January Delivers a statement at the International Conference on the EEC and South Africa in Dublin
13 February Writes a letter to Ayatollah Khomeini
10 April Delivers an address, The Spirit of Bandung, to the International Conference in Support of the Liberation Movements of Southern Africa and in Support of the Frontline States, in Lusaka, 10 April
21 April Delivers a speech on the Occasion of the Celebration of the Twenty-First Anniversary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, in Lusaka
3 September Delivers a speech, on Behalf of the National Liberation Movements, at the Opening Session of the Sixth Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, in Havana, Cuba
3 - 9 September Delivers a statement at the Sixth Conference of heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries in Havana, Cuba
5 November Delivers a press statement

1980s

1980
2 January Gives a press conference, introducing Alexandre Moumbaris, Stephen Lee and Timothy Jenkin who escaped from prison
8 January Delivers a message to the People of South Africa on the 68th Anniversary of the ANC
January Tambo interviewed by The New Times in Moscow
Tambo interviewed by New African in London
March Writes an article, Racism in Isolation for World Marxist Review
18 March Delivers a statement, Forward to a People's Government
April Delivers a speech, In the Belly of the beast, at conference of the International Committee against Apartheid, Racism and Colonialism in Stockholm
10 June Gives an introduction to a message from Nelson Mandela, smuggled out of prison.
1984
8 January Delivers message, Dream of Total Liberation of Africa is in Sight, of the National Executive Committee of the ANC on the 72nd Anniversary of ANC
21 March Gives a press conference in London
21 March Delivers an address to the Anti-Racist Day Meeting of the Greater London Council
May Delivers a speech, We are a Force, at Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College in Mazimbu, Tanzania
21 May Writes an open letter to Archbishop Trevor Huddleston in an appeal to the British People to oppose the visit of P.W. Botha
16 June Delivers a statement on June 16
26 June Delivers a message to Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, President, Anti-Apartheid Movement, on the 25th Anniversary of its founding
23 August Delivers a statement, The Struggle Continues and Grows More Intense
4 September Delivers an address at Conference on Southern Africa of the Socialist International and the Socialist Group of the European Parliament with the Frontline States, ANC and SWAPO in Arusha
Tambo interviewed with Mayibuye on the current situation in South Africa and Southern Africa in general.
10 October Delivers a radio broadcast, Make South Africa Ungovernable Radio Freedom
14 November Delivers a statement to the 20th session of the assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African Unity in Addis Ababa
16 November Delivers a statement to the press in Addis Ababa
1985
8 January Delivers a message, Render South Africa Ungovernable! of the National Executive Committee of the ANC on the 73rd Anniversary of ANC
January O. R. Tambo interviewed by RIXAKA
June, Tambo chairs the ANC’s Kabwe Conference.
16 June Gives an opening statement at the Second National Consultative Conference of the ANC in Kabwe, Zambia
June Delivers a Political Report of the National Executive Committee to the National Consultative Conference of the ANC, in Kabwe, Zambia
25 June Delivers a Communique of the Second National Consultative Conference of the ANC at a Press Conference in Lusaka
25 June Delivers a press conference in Lusaka
July Delivers a message to the World Festival of Youth and Students in Moscow.
19 July Delivers an address to the 21st Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the OAU by O.R. Tambo, Addis Ababa, 19 July 1985
22 July Delivers an address to the Nation on Radio Freedom
16 August Delivers an ANC press Statement in Lusaka.
October Tambo interviewed by Anthony Heard.
October, Following an address to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons in London, the United Kingdom, as part of the Commonwealth, sent an Eminent Persons Group to investigate the situation in the country
At a press conference during the UN Conference on Women, Tambo stressed that the ANC’s liberation struggle would not be complete until the women of South Africa were free
29 October Gives evidence before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, in London.
10 November Writes an article, Botha's British Allies for the Observer, London.
Tambo and the ANC meet a high-powered delegation of the foremost captains of industry from South Africa.
Unveils a statue erected by the Greater London Council on the South Bank, London in honour of Nelson Mandela
1986
8 January. Delivers message 'Attack, Advance, Give the Enemy No Quarter!' of the National Executive Committee of the ANC on the 74th Anniversary of the ANC.
Before February Tambo interviewed by Radio Freedom on visits of multi-national corporations to the ANC.
21 February Delivers a Statement at the Swedish People's Parliament Against Apartheid in Stockholm
29 March 1986 Statement at the Funeral of Moses Mbheki Mabhida in Maputo
April, Meets with the German Foreign Minister, Hans Dietrich Genscher for talks in Bonn, Germany
5 May Delivers "Racism Apartheid and a New World Order": Speech in Acceptance of the Third World Prize on Behalf of Nelson and Winnie Mandela in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
9 May "We are of the World and the World is with Us" Address on Receiving the Degree of Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
27 May Delivers Joint Communique of the Meeting of the National African Federated Chambers of Commerce and the ANC Lusaka
16 June Delivers "The Count-Down has Started": Statement on the Tenth Anniversary of the Soweto Uprising
16 June Delivers Victory is Within our Grasp: Statement at the World Conference on Sanctions against Racist South Africa UNESCO House, Paris
19 June Delivers Statement at the International Labour Conference Geneva
23 June Delivers "We have Decided to Liberate Ourselves" Address to the Royal Commonwealth Society London
21 July Writes a Letter to Sir Geoffrey Howe United Kingdom Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
1 - 6 September Delivers a Statement at the Eighth Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries
22 October Delivers a message to Frelimo Central Committee on the Death of Samora Machel
15 December Delivers a statement of Acceptance of the Ho Chi Minh Award Bestowed on the ANC by the World Peace Council in Luanda
Tambo convenes the first meeting of the ANC’s Constitutional Committee in Lusaka, which Jack Simons heads
16 December "Umkhonto we Sizwe - Born of the People" Statement of the National Executive Comittee of the ANC on the 25th Anniversary of the Formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe
1987
21 January, Tambo and Allan Boesak of the United Democratic Front (UDF) appear for the first time together in public at the Riverside Church in New York, America, at the Olof Palme Memorial Lecture on Disarmament and Development.
28 May, Tambo speaks at the Canon Collins Memorial Lecture in London calling upon all to support the struggle in the country by isolating apartheid in every facet of life
September, At the International Convention for the Rights of Children Conference, in Harare, dealing with the imprisonment and torture of children in South Africa, Tambo opens his speech by reading a poem by South African poet, Ingrid Jonker
Heads a top-secret mission, Operation Vula, a covert project.
November 4-5 Delivers a speech At The Meeting Of Representatives Of The Parties And Movements Participating In The Celebration Of The 70th Anniversary Of The "Great October Socialist Revolution"
11 November Delivers a speech on the Occasion of ohe Award of an Honorary Doctorate to Nelson Mandela by The Karl Marx University of the German Democratic Republic
1 December Delivers an Address at the Opening Session of the ANC Conference "Peoples Of The World United Against Apartheid, For A Democratic South Africa"
4 December Delivers a Closing Speech at the ANC Conference "Peoples Of The World United Against Apartheid, For A Democratic South Africa"
1988
1-5 March Delivers a Statement at the Symposium on the Survival and Development of Children in the Frontline States and Southern Africa
13 May Delivers a Statement at the 50th Session of the OAU Coordinating Committee for the Liberation Of Africa
June Call for the Observance of the 70th Birthday of Nelson Mandela
11 June Delivers a Statement at the Launch of the "Nelson Mandela: Freedom at 70" Campaign
June, Tambo is the guest of honour at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute at Wembley Stadium, London, organised by the British Anti Apartheid Movement
June Delivers "Peace and Development in our Region" Speech at "War on Want" Conference
August Delivers a Speech at the Tenth General Conference of the United National Independence Party
1 - 2 December Delivers a Statement, on Behalf of the Southern African Liberation Movements, at the Closing Session of the Seventh Summit Meeting of the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern African States
At the Scottish Anti Apartheid Movement’s rally, Tambo is invited to launch their Glasgow to London march calling for the release of Nelson Mandela
1989
8 January Delivers a message of the National Executive Committee of the ANC on the 77th Anniversary of the ANC
12 January Delivers a Statement at the 19th African-American Conference
15 February Delivers a Statement at the Conference of The Socialist International and Frontline States on Southern Africa
April Delivers a Message to the Seventh Congress of the South African Communist Party
20 June Delivers a Statement to the Ordinary Congress of the Socialist International, Stockholm
30 June Delevers a Press Statement concerning the Five-Year Plan presented by F.W. De Klerk to the National Party Conference
24 – 26 July Delivers a Statement at the 25th Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African Unity
29 October Delevers a Message to the Soweto Rally to Welcome Released Leaders
Suffers a severe health fall back, leading him to lose his speech due to a stroke.

1990s

1990
2 February Delivers a statement with other ANC leaders visiting Sweden.
The London Borough of Haringey confers the Freedom of the Borough on Tambo – the first ever recipient
March, Tambo meets Nelson Mandela for the first time in Sweden, after nearly three decades
9 August Delivers a message to the rally to relaunch the ANC Women's Leaguein Durban.
December, The entire Tambo family flies back to South Africa
14 December Delivers an opening address to the ANC National Consultative Conference in Johannesburg.
16 December Delivers a speech to the ANC Rally at Soccer City in Johannesburg,
1991
8 January Delivers an introductory statement on the presentation of the statement of the National Executive Committee of the ANC on the 79th Anniversary of the ANC.
24 May Gives a speech at the final conference of International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa in London.
2 July Delivers an opening address to the ANC’s 48th National Conference in Durban.
19 October Delivers a speech on the occasion of installation as the Chancellor of the University of Fort Hare and on being awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws.
Installed as Chancellor of the University of Fort Hare
1993
19 February Delivers an opening speech at the International Solidarity Conference, on the theme "From Apartheid to Peace, Democracy and Development" in Johannesburg.
23 April, Tambo passes away in Johannesburg
30 April, Father Trevor Huddleston, an old friend, delivers an address at the Requiem Mass for Tambo at St Mary’s Cathedral, Johannesburg
2 May, Tambo’s funeral takes place in Johannesburg

2000s

2006
26 October, The inaugural lecture of the Oliver Tambo Lecture Series takes place in Glasgow, Scotland
27 October, Johannesburg Airport is renamed the OR Tambo International Airport
2011
1 October, The first-ever Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Liberation Walk took place in Ekurhuleni
25 October, President Jacob Zuma officially launches the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation in Johannesburg

Last updated : 15-Sep-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 28-Oct-2011