Black History Month – Oliver Tambo ‘What foresight. What humanity’

The Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation (NMSMF) is celebrating Black History Month with a video marking the 104th anniversary of the birth of Oliver Tambo on 27 October, entitled “Oliver Tambo. What foresight, what humanity”.

The 20 minute video will launch here online at 6pm on 27 October 2021 at on YouTube at and and will continue to be available to view after that.

O.R. Tambo, as he was usually known, led the African National Congress (ANC) for almost 30 years through the struggle that defeated apartheid in South Africa. He died in 1993 shortly before his campaign for democracy in South Africa was fully realised.

With clips of Tambo and contemporary comrades, the video hears first hand accounts of issues like resistance, leadership, the armed struggle, sanctions, and negotiations.

Following the Sharpeville Massacre and the banning of ANC in 1960, Tambo was sent abroad by the ANC to be their ambassador in organising the world-wide campaign to bring pressure on the South African apartheid government. He is credited with holding together and building the ANC’s global mass campaign.

Nelson Mandela described him as: “A great giant who strode the globe like a colossus” with “the gentle voice whose measured words of reason shook the thrones of tyrants.”

The video is part of the all-important education and awareness programme that sits alongside the NMSMF’s campaign to build a statue of Nelson Mandela in Nelson Mandela Place, Glasgow.

Brian Filling, Chair of the Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation and Honorary Consul for South Africa in Scotland, was awarded the Order of Companions of O.R Tambo, the highest award made to non-South Africans, by the Republic of South Africa in 2012.

He said: “O.R. Tambo is a hugely significant figure in Black history and it is important in Black History Month that we remind people of his and the African National Congress’s struggle, and Scotland’s role in the fight against South Africa’s apartheid system, labelled by the United Nations as a crime against humanity. The apartheid system in South Africa was based on white supremacism and cheap black labour making vast profits for the West, led and supported by Britain over decades.

“We hope that our education programme, along with a statue of Tambo’s comrade and friend Nelson Mandela, will educate future generations on the need to stand up against racism and prejudice wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head.”

‘What foresight. What humanity’ is a quote in the video about Tambo from the late Denis Goldberg, a patron of the NMSMF, who was sentenced along with Nelson Mandela and spent 22 years in a South African prison. 

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