Quotations by Oliver Tambo

Oliver Tambo at his home ©

"We seek to create a united Democratic and non-racial society. We have a vision of South Africa in which black and white shall live and work together as equals in conditions of peace and prosperity. Using the power you derive from the discovery of the truth about racism in South Africa, you will help us to remake our part of the world into a corner of the globe on which all -- of which all of humanity can be proud." - A quote from Oliver Tambo speaking at Georgetown University on January 27, 1987.

"It is our responsibility to break down barriers of division and create a country where there will be neither Whites nor Blacks, just South Africans, free and united in diversity."

  • "It may be that apartheid brings such stupendous economic advantages to countries that they would sooner have apartheid than permit its destruction."
  • "Racial discrimination, South Africa's economic power, its oppression and exploitation of all the black peoples, are part and parcel of the same thing."
  • "The fight for freedom must go on until it is won; until our country is free and happy and peaceful as part of the community of man, we cannot rest."
  • "Using the power you derive from the discovery of the truth about racism in South Africa, you will help us to remake our part of the world into a corner of the globe on which all - of which all of humanity can be proud."
  • "We believe that the world, too, can destroy apartheid, firstly by striking at the economy of South Africa."
  • "We have a vision of South Africa in which black and white shall live and work together as equals in conditions of peace and prosperity."
  • "We seek to create a united democratic and non-racial society."
  • "Beware the wedge driver. Watch his poisonous tongue"
  • "It would be wrong to say there has been no cause for criticism directed at the way certain sectors, levels and contingents of our broad movement were carrying on---on the other hand we have had a series of representative meetings or conferences in which there was frank criticism or self-criticism."
  • "The world public, in general, assumed that NR [Nelson Rolhlahla] was the president and we found it unnecessary to correct the impression, because we always made it clear that our national leaders (mine included) are on Robben Island, serving life imprisonment"
  • "The apartheid enemy tries to separate us into ancient ‘tribal’ entities and pretends to be concerned about the preservation of our cultural heritage."
  • "In all our localities, wherever they may be, we must rise now and destroy apartheid organs of government that are used to hold us in bondage. We make this call o all Black people – African, Indian and so-called Coloureds."
  • "The order of the day to all units of Umkhonto we Sizwe is that they must strengthen links with the people."
  • "Make apartheid unworkable. Make South Africa ungovernable. Prepare the conditions for the seizure of power by the people."
  • "What I condemn, with all the vehemence I can muster, is the fact that for three quarters of a century we have been victims of white minority rule, which has progressively become more violent against us up to the point where it assumes the forms we are witnessing."
  • "Some of us don’t like violence at all. I have an abhorrence of violence – I even take insects out of the bath. But we are forced into violence. I, for example, won’t hunt to kill because I do not like to kill."
  • "We are not fighting against people, we are fighting against a system."
  • "I had other plans for my life. I wanted to be a minister of the Anglican church with Bishop Clayton. After we married, I was going to train for the ministry in Cape Town. But God had other plans for me. Gods plan was for me to fight in the political liberation for my people."

References