Tue, 27 Jul 2021

President Cyril Ramphosa has paid tribute to former ANC president and anti-apartheid activist Oliver Reginald Tambo, describing him as one of the "finest leaders and visionaries" South Africa has ever produced.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the unveiling of a statue in honour of the late struggle stalwart at OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park, Gauteng on Tuesday.

Ramaphosa said Tambo dedicated his life to the people of South Africa and to the achievement of democracy.

"He led the struggle for freedom through its darkest and most difficult moments. He spent through three decades in exile, working tirelessly to forge international support for the anti-apartheid struggle," he said.

The president also said OR Tambo was the voice of the country's liberation movement, adding that he articulated the aspirations of every citizen who yearned for freedom.

"His name was known around the world, from Oslo to London, from Accra to Moscow. Oliver Tambo was the architect of our freedom," Ramaphosa said.

"Thanks to his activism, people living in these distant lands got to know of our struggle and gladly joined it.

"It is therefore most fitting that this statue has been erected here at this airport that bears his name, and that is a gateway to the continent and to the world.

"As they take their first steps on South African soil, visitors to our country will see this magnificent bronze gleaming in the sunlight.

"This statue is a colossus, as was the man it commemorates."

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Ramaphosa said the statue was a project that had been long in the making. He also congratulated the City of Ekurhuleni for their "persistence in bringing it to fruition".

"Mayor [Mzwandile] Masina, this statue forms part of Ekurhuleni's bold vision to see our country's liberation history prominently displayed in the province's tourism hubs.

"Like the statue of President [Nelson] Mandela at the Union Buildings in Tshwane, I have no doubt that this one too will become a tourist attraction," he added.

Source: News24

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