Obituary: Oliver Tambo

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The Independent Online
NO REMEMBRANCE of Oliver Tambo is complete without a picture of him with his family, writes Paul Boateng (further to the obituary by Anthony Sampson and Richard Dowden, 26 April). My fondest memories of him are 'at home' with his dear wife Adelaide, whether in Muswell Hill or, more recently, in Johannesburg, surrounded by the children, his own, or like myself and my wife Janet, 'adopted'.

Adelaide Tambo created an oasis for him whenever he was home that was full of love, joy, good cheer and her own good cooking. The house always buzzed, not only with political activity and the comings and goings of grass-root activists as well as political dignitaries, but also with the children and their friends from the world of music, fashion and film.

Oliver Tambo was at the centre of it all, radiating a calm strength and a gentleness that came from a profound spirituality. He would pat the sofa next to him and amidst the surrounding hubbub it was as if no one and nothing else existed except the object of his attentions and the matter in hand. Conversation would range widely, not only the struggle against apartheid, to which he so selflessly dedicated his life, but music, religion, the children, and the future of the Labour Party.

Always there was that gentle humour, a ceaselessly inquiring mind that never lost its incisive command and a heart that remained, even amidst failing health, true and warm. I loved him.