SA maritime heritage to feature prominently in National Heritage Council’s O.R Tambo celebration events beginning in Pretoria in May 2017

Pretoria: 22 May 2017
South Africa’s maritime heritage is among key topics of a series of public engagements by the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) contribution to this year’s national celebration of the life of the late African National Congress (ANC) president, Oliver Reginald Tambo.

SHAKING ON IT: Mr Tilayi and Adv Mangcotywa shortly after signing an MoU in Pretoria in March 2017

In the series of lecturers, discussions and dialogues beginning on May 30 in Pretoria, the NHC has partnered with several institutions among which is the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the progenitor and current driver of the country’s maritime heritage development initiative.

The launch of the series formally brings to life an agreement SAMSA and the NHC recently entered into, to co-operate and collaborate on especially maritime heritage development and initiate would incorporate the honoring of O.R Tambo who spearheaded the country’s freedom struggle’s use of maritime resources, among other pillars, to enhance the military struggle against the apartheid regime, according Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Acting CEO of SAMSA.

In statement in Pretoria on Monday, the SANHC announced that next Tuesday (30 May 2017), the council and its partners; Freedom Park, Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation and SAMSA would host the first public discussion in a series; Oliver Tambo Centenary Talk, at Freedom Park in Pretoria under the theme “Celebrating the Life and Legacy of OR”.

The event takes place during the “Africa Month” that falls in, with this year’s theme being: “Celebrating African Unity“.

It also takes place on the same month the continent marked the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) “African World Heritage Day” celebrated annually, internationally on May 5.

O.R Tambo 1In Pretoria on Monday, the NHC said the Oliver Tambo Centenary Talk, roundly supported by Government through an inter-ministerial committee involving among others, the Department of Arts & Culture; was based on the NHC’s Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route (RLHR) concept, intended to unearth neglected but significant stories about the liberation struggle and to preserve those legacies.

“It also aims to connect the stories that give a comprehensive account of the South African liberation struggle history through a network of different but of linked heritage sites. This year has been declared as a year to celebrate the centenary of OR who would be turning 100 years on 27 October 2017,” said the council.

Keynote speakers at the event next Tuesday and among whom worked closely with O.R Tambo led during the liberation struggle, include liberation struggle stalwart and retired judge, Justice Albie Sachs; former ANC’s uMkhonto Wesizwe naval unit Commissar Tlou “T.T” Cholo; retired South African High Commissioner to Mozambique: Thandi Lujabe- Rankoe and former Minister in the Office of the Presidency, Dr Essop Pahad.

They will speak respectively about O.R Tambo according to the following topics: “Human Rights: The Land Question as a Central Piece in Human Rights”; “Recalling the internationalist and his strategist interventions”; “Socio Economic Freedom in a Democracy”; and “Harnessing the intellectual and leadership wealth”.

Explaining the O.R Tambo celebration’s rationale further, the NHC said: “Tambo’s life from his birthplace in Nkantolo in the Eastern Cape, his active political life in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg to his exile journey on the continent and abroad touches on many aspects that informs the celebration of his legacy.

“It is these aspects that frame the Oliver Tambo Centenary Talks as a platform for public engagement on the values of O R Tambo. An internationalist and diplomat; principled leader; revolutionary intellectual; humanist are some of the values OR is fondly remembered with.

NHC chief executive officer, Advocate Sonwabile Mangcotywa said: “Our forefathers are the architects of our democracy and part of Africa’s rich heritage in the liberation from apartheid. We need to awaken the legacies by adopting their values and rid the nation from forgetfulness. It has been noted that the youth of our continent do not have access to the legacy of OR and his contributions to Africa’s liberation are not well recognised. Through these talks and centenary, we believe that Oliver Tambo’s values will be reawakened and his legacy will live forever”, he said.

The NHC indicated that reservation for attendance of the event would be essential as the series of talks on O.R Tambo had attracted a lot of public attention and interest already.

To RSVP before 26 May 2017 – E-mail: to RSVP. For more information visit or call the NHC on 012 348 1663.

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