OR Tambo statue

Photo: PresidencyZA / Twitter

OR Tambo statue unveiled on Tuesday – but it’s already stirring controversy

The ANC have been accused of failing to separate party from state, after a newly-unveiled statue of OR Tambo came with a ‘partisan extra’.

OR Tambo statue

Photo: PresidencyZA / Twitter

President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially unveiled a statue in honour of the late struggle stalwart and global icon Oliver Reginald Tambo at OR Tambo International Airport – but not everyone is best pleased with the design.

OR Tambo tribute sparks controversy

Revealed on Tuesday, the nine-metre tall bronze statue of OR Tambo comes at exactly 103 years since the birth of the globally respected leader. The structure is situated outside the airport, pays tribute to the man revered for mobilising international support for the anti-apartheid struggle. President Ramaphosa was chuffed with the final product:

“This statue forms part of Ekurhuleni’s bold vision to see our country’s liberation history prominently displayed in the province’s tourism hubs. Like the statue of President Mandela at the Union Buildings in Tshwane, I have no doubt that this one too will become a tourist attraction.”

“We hope it will become an essential stop for visitors to the OR Tambo Cultural Precinct, which is doing so much to preserve the legacy of this great man, As they take their first steps on South African soil, visitors to our country will see this magnificent bronze gleaming in the sunlight. This statue is a colossus, as was the man it commemorates.”

Cyril Ramaphosa

Why is this statue ‘problematic’?

But what’s the issue being raised by the critics? Well, that’ll be the enormous ‘ANC lapel’ placed upon the jacket pocket of the statue. Many feel that the ANC has used public funds to promote the interests of their own party – a major political sin:

Social media reacts to the new OR Tambo statue

Although the debate around separating party from the state has been healthy online, the complaints about the ANC branding on a national hero have continued throughout the day. Of course, OR Tambo was the longest-serving leader in the ruling party’s history – but this partisan addition has left a sour taste in the mouths of many: