Celebrating OR Tambo: Messages from ANC International Relations Sub-Committee
Below are two ANC messages celebrating Oliver Tambo, who's birthday is celebrated tomorrow the 27th of October. President Jacob Zuma will deliver the OR Tambo Presidential Centennial Lecture later today at the University of Pretoria.
The first message is from the Head of the ANC International Relations sub-committee, Ebrahim Ebrahim. The second message celebrating OR Tambo is from Ribbon Mosholi, the ANC International Relations Manager. Both messages were provided for a student-organized commemoration event that took place at Wits University, on Wednesday the 24th of October. The event was titled "Celebrating Oliver Tambo: Advancing the Palestinian Struggle for Self-determination", and BDS South Africa was a co-host to the event.
This month the African National Congress celebrates its longest-serving president, Oliver Reginald Tambo. Tambo was central in building a successful international anti-apartheid and boycott of Apartheid South Africa movement. He also served as President of the ANC for the longest period.

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"Celebrating Oliver Tambo: Advancing the Palestinian Struggle for Self-Determination"
- Ebrahim Ebrahim
- ANC International Relations (Head)

Oliver Reginald Tambo is a name that brings much fondness to us as South Africans and those who struggle for a more just world. Tambo was a man who can be considered as one of the pioneer architects of our liberation struggle to which he contributed tremendously. This he achieved largely through international solidarity. Tambo will forever be connected to the successful international isolation of Apartheid South Africa.
Comrade OR's entire life was taken up in ANC work, and specifically in building an international anti-Apartheid movement. Tambo would travel the world engaging with students, unions, churches and other formations convincing them to divest and end their support for Apartheid South Africa. Indeed, Tambo was successful in this achievement.
However, the international anti-Apartheid movement and sanctions campaign was also shouldered, taken on and defended by thousands of ordinary citizens from numerous countries around the world. They too, made our struggle their life. We are forever indebted to them.
Today, there is a similar international civil society solidarity campaign in support of the Palestinians against Israeli policies and practices of occupation and aggression. The ANC fully supports this international movement to pressure Israel to engage with the Palestinian people to reach a just solution. In this regard, the ANC calls on all South Africans to support the programmes and campaigns of Palestinian civil society in their pursuit of justice, freedom and equality.
The ANC is unequivocal in its support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, and unapologetic in its view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel.

 The Palestinian struggle against Israeli oppression reminds us of our own struggle against Apartheid, but, since we achieved our freedom, we are convinced that the Palestinians too will achieve theirs. Until then, and in the words of Nelson Mandela: "Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."
"Celebrating Oliver Tambo: Advancing the Palestinian Struggle for Self-Determination"
- Ribbon Mosholi
- ANC International Relations Manager
October is very important for the African National Congress (ANC) in this centennial year as it is the month when we remember and celebrate the birthday of President Oliver Reginald Tambo.  He not only was the president who served the ANC the longest in the position; but the one who popularised the liberation struggle in South Africa and was instrumental in the creation of the global Anti-Apartheid movement.  He indeed is credited with putting the internationalist nature and agenda of our movement on the world map.

It is therefore not a mistake that this month, October, the month of his birthday, the ANC chose to mark the contributions of the international community and embark on its 3rd international solidarity conference. Like in all other themes each month since January, the ANC invites all members of society, and in this month particularly the international community, to reflect on this history and the centenary of the ANC.

It is therefore in this spirit, specifically epitomised in the person of Oliver Tambo that we welcome our comrades who were central to the development and sustenance of the international anti-apartheid movement to reflect on a legacy that is equally their own.

We know that our joint legacy has inspired and attracted many struggling peoples elsewhere in the world, including the Palestinians, who face a far more violent and inhuman situation. I'd like to quote from the 2007 ANC Polokwane resolution which captured this situation: "The 60th Anniversary of the Palestinian catastrophe, known as the Nakba, which resulted in the dispossession of Palestinian lands and their birthright through a systematic policy of colonial expansion, ethnic cleansing and military occupation of the most brutal kind, which as South Africans we readily recognize from our own experience of apartheid...given our own experience in our liberation struggle, we South Africans know the force of an international solidarity campaign in bringing to bear on an oppressive regime to force it into real negotiations and a just solution."

Palestinians have asked for our solidarity and we must respond. In 2005, the largest grouping of Palestinian civil and political society issued a call with three basic demands:
1. Ending the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Apartheid Wall,
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
These are not unreasonable demands!

Taking the long standing relationship that we have had with the oppressed people of Palestine the centenary celebrations of the ANC, specifically the legacy of Oliver Tambo and the international anti-apartheid movement, should serve as an opportunity for those who contributed to our liberation in the world to also reflect on how they could do so in the case of Palestine.

Long live the spirit of OR Tambo, Long Live! Long live Palestinian struggle, long live!