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Sunday, August 27, 2017


The Year of O R Tambo: Building a Better Africa and a Better World is a Jacana Pocket Biography by Hugh Macmillan recognising the vision of the great anti-apartheid revolutionary, who would have turned 100 in October.

The centenary of the birth of OR Tambo falls on October 27, 2017. Hugh Macmillan’s pocket biography traces Tambo’s role as a leader of the legal ANC through the Defiance Campaign, the Congress of the People and the Treason Trial, and his evolution from militant ‘Africanism’ towards acceptance of the idea of the ANC as a ‘broad church’ open to people of different racial groups and political persuasions.

The freedom enjoyed today in South Africa can be attributed to his political zeal, his unique leadership qualities and the vision that kept the ANC together in exile in the face of great difficulties, and prepared the way for a negotiated end to apartheid and transition to democracy.

Oliver Reginald Tambo passed away on the morning of April 24, 1993. His epitaph, in his own words, reads: “It is our responsibility to break down barriers of division and create a country where there will be neither whites nor blacks, just South Africans, free and united in diversity.”

This Jacana Pocket Biography analyses the sources of Tambo’s strength as a leader, emphasising his integrity, his commitment to non-racial democracy, and the importance to him of religion, music and family.

Macmillan is a historian who has published widely on the history of Southern Africa. He has taught at universities in Zambia, Swaziland and South Africa, and is currently a research associate at the African Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. His most recent books are: The Lusaka Years: The ANC in Exile in Zambia, 1963–94 (Jacana, 2013), and two other contributions to the Jacana Pocket Biography series, Chris Hani (2014) and Jack Simons: Teacher, Scholar, Comrade (2016)

The Year of OR Tambo: Building a Better Africa and a Better World’ is co-published in paperback by Jacana with Ohio University Press in the US and UK – ISBN 978-1-4314-2563-1. Recommended Retail Price R160.