Banned in South Africa, Oliver Tambo led the liberation struggle in exile from 1960-1990 while Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island. During those 30 years, he not only kept the African National Congress (ANC) unified, but also led the movement both inside and outside South Africa in a successful battle against apartheid.
His calls to the international community to isolate and sanction the South African regime created the most globalised human rights struggle of the 20th century.
In the end, his continuous actions helped release Nelson Mandela from prison and laid the foundation for a new South Africa. Suffering a stroke on the eve of success, O.R. Tambo would not live to see his lifelong friend become the first black president of a democratic South Africa.