The book, edited by Ambassador Lindiwe Mabuza, is a collection of over thirty letters to O.R. by contributors who were born, raised and educated in exile. “At times praising, at time questioning, other times lamenting presenting present circumstances, many of the letters as, ‘Where are you now when we need you most, Uncle Comrade President Tambo?'”
Published by Real African Publishers and Memory is our Heritage, with the financial assistance of the Department of Arts & Culture, the book is a passion project of Amb. Mabuza, and includes letter from Bheki Langa, John Kubayi, Kananelo Sexwale, Lawson Naidoo, Lyndall Shope-Mafole, Pulane Kingston, Sisonke Msimang, Thami Ntenteni, Tsheli Lujabe and Vuyo Skweyiya.
The launch was attended by Former First Lady Mrs Zanele Mbeki, Mam’ Gertrude Shope, Advocate Dali Mpofu, Bulelani Ngcuka, Saki Macozoma, Murphy Morobe, and Dali and Rachel Tambo, amongst many others. But the largest contingent was that of the children of exile – “children”, one might say, lucky enough to have interacted acted with- and be influenced by the inimitable leader. As Sisonke Msimang puts it in her letter:
“Uncle O.R.’s greatest lesson to us all was that we were important even when the powerful would have preferred us to doubt our own importance. That is a lesson – luminous and fragile and more resilient than we might have guessed – that shines across the ages.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lindiwe Mabuza has published a number of books and volumes of poetry. As chief representative for the ANC to the Scandinavian countries, she was based in Sweden from 1979 to 1987. She edited the journal Voice of Women and was a radio journalist with the ANC’s Radio Freedom, broadcasting from Lusaka, Zambia. She also served as the chairperson of the ANC cultural committee in Lusaka. She was a member of the first democratic South African Parliament from 1994 to 1995 and resumed her diplomatic career as ambassador to Germany from 1995 to 1999; high commissioner to Malaysia, Brunei and The Philippines from 1999 to 2001; and high commissioner to the UK from 2001 to 2009.
Conversations with Uncle OR - Childhood Memoirs in Exile is published by Real African Publishers