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 27 OCTOBER 2017

Thank you, Programme Directors:

His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma

Premier of the Eastern Cape, the Honourable Phumulo Masualle

Ministers and Deputy Ministers Present here today

Mayor of Alfred Nzo District Municipality, Cllr Mehlomakhulu

Mayor of Mbizana Local Municipality, Cllr Mafumbatha

Traditional Authorities present with us here

The Tambo Family

The community of Nkantolo and Mbizana

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and gentlemen,


I have been asked to perform a very simple yet important task of saying thank you to everyone involved in this historic event. Ndibulela wonke umntu othe wathabatha inxaxheba kulo mcimbi wokukhumbula inkokheli yethu, uOliver Reginald (OR) Tambo.

When President Jacob Zuma declared 2017 as the Year of OR Tambo, he challenged the nation to celebrate the life and legacy of this gallant leader in a fitting manner. It was against this backdrop that we established a committee to preside over the preparations. I must express our most sincere gratitude to the President for having the foresight to appoint such a committee.

It has been a great pleasure for me to lead the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) comprised of leaders from the three tiers of government – from local, provincial and national. This structure made the coordination of this event much easier. It also created a platform for exchange of ideas so that today we can have an event befitting a man of OR’s stature.

In the same vein, I thank President Zuma for delivering such an inspirational eulogy to this leader of our people today. The President’s keynote address was more than a tribute to OR, as it also helped to tell us more about this towering leader of our liberation struggle. OR Tambo was indeed a colossus and one of the most resilient leaders of our liberation struggle. Thank you President for leading from the front.

It would be remiss of me if I don’t thank my co-programme director –MEC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Pemmy Majodina, also known as DJ Pemzo! It has been a great pleasure working with you. Thank you for steering the programme so gracefully and with such impeccable deft and erudition.

I thank the family of OR Tambo for lending him to the liberation movement. OR Tambo was forced to leave the country in 1960 to build the ANC in exile. Throughout the years of struggle he crisscrossed the world, raising funds, mobilising the world and waging the fight against apartheid at an international scale. We would not have been where we are today if it was not for OR’s sacrifices and selfless dedication to the liberation struggle.

I thank the Executive Mayor of Alfred Nzo Municipality, Cllr Mehlomakhulu, for supporting this event and welcoming us to this municipality today. His welcome address epitomised the warmth and the hospitality of the people of this community.

We felt connected to the people of this region through the entertainment that was provided by the various groups. Sibulela iMzamba Belcanto, Imbongi yethu namhlanje, uThandanani obuya eNtabankulu, kwakunye neDiponono yaseMatatiele, ngako konke abankwenzileyo.  These artists did not only entertain, but they also ensured that we connect to the cultural nuances of the people of this region. I am told that later on the popular group, Jaziel Brothers, will also be performing.

The fact that this event is held here in this rural village is truly inspirational. OR grew up herding goats and cattle in these hills and valleys of Nkantolo to become a global leader. He used to ride on horseback to go to school, which was a distance away. The story of OR should inspire the community of Nkantolo and other rural areas to strive for more. Each and every child growing up today should know that they can be anything they aspire to be. Their present circumstances do not determine their future.

On that note, I would like to thank the people of this village for bringing up OR Tambo to become a distinguished leader that is respected globally. There is no reason why this village cannot produce another leader of OR Tambo’s stature. I thank the neighbours who came to support and all those involved in cooking, cleaning and every aspect of project management in preparation for our event today.

Our event today is yet another reminder that OR Tambo can never die. His spirit is forever with us. He devoted his life to the liberation struggle so that we can enjoy the fruits of freedom today. Our event today should be a solemn reminder that our freedom was not free. Martyrs like Tambo sacrificed their lives for us to be free. We must cherish our freedom and democracy in honour of Tambo and all those who sacrificed their lives.

Let us derive inspiration from the incisive leadership and commitment of Tambo. May his revolutionary soul rest in peace. Thank you to everyone for making this day a success.



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