Oliver Tambo

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Oliver Reginald Tambo (27 October 1917 - 24 April, 1993) was a South African anti-apartheid politician and a central figure in the African National Congress (ANC). He was born in Mbizana in eastern Mpondoland in what is now Eastern Cape.

In 1940 Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela were expelled from Fort Hare University for participating in a student strike. In 1942 Tambo returned to his former high school in Johannesburg to teach science and mathematics.

Oliver Tambo, along with Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu, was a founding member of the ANC Youth League in 1943. The youth league proposed a change in tactics in the anti-apartheid movement. The ANC had previously sought to further its cause by actions such as petitions and demonstrations. The ANC Youth League did not feel that these actions were sufficient to achieve their goals and proposed their own 'Programme of Action'. This programme advocated tactics such as boycotts, civil disobedience, strikes and non-collaboration.

He was one of the founders of the ANC Youth League in 1944 and its first National Secretary. In 1948 he was elected onto the National Executive of the ANC.

In 1955 he became Secretary General of the ANC After Walter Sisulu was banned by the South African government under the Suppression of Communism Act. In 1958 he became Deputy President of the ANC and in 1959 was served with a five year banning order by the government.

Tambo was sent abroad by the ANC in order to mobilise opposition to apartheid. He was involved in the formation of the South African United Front which achieved the expulsion of South Africa from the Commonwealth in 1961. In 1967, Tambo became Acting President of the ANC, after the death of Chief Albert Lutuli.

In 1985 he was re-elected President of the ANC. He returned to South Africa in 1991 after over 30 years in exile, and elected elected National Chairperson of the ANC in July of the same year.

He first had a stroke in 1989. It was another stroke that killed him in 1993.

In 2004 he was voted 31st in the Top 100 Great South Africans ( see List of South Africans)

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