Tottenham school children remember an icon
The life of an anti-apartheid icon has been celebrated at a Tottenham school with a special memorial competition.
Oliver Tambo left South Africa in 1960 and lived in exile in Haringey for 30 years. Throughout this time, he mobilised opposition to apartheid across the world and, along with Nelson Mandela, could claim to be the co-founder of modern South Africa.
This year marks the centenary of his birth. Park View School, West Green Road - in partnership with Action for Southern Africa and the Anti-Apartheid Movement Archive - launched a competition to ‘build a memorial to Oliver Tambo’. They asked students from schools across Haringey to submit whatever memorials they thought appropriate – whether that be poems, paintings, short films, a bust or a biography.
“And we were overwhelmed by the amount of entries,” said Daniel Lyndon, lead practitioner in Humanities at Park View.
“At the school we set this as Year 7 homework so they’ve had six weeks to do the project and in total nine schools in Haringey have submitted entries. It was important to raise awareness about the work of Oliver Tambo, he’s not as well-known as he should be, so this was a good opportunity to celebrate his contribution in fighting for equality and freedom.”
At a special event at the school this week, the many diverse memorials were displayed with a ‘top table’ featuring the winning entries for the different age groups. A host of dignitaries were present - including ex government minister and well-known anti-apartheid activist, Peter Hain, Haringey Council Leader Cllr Claire Kober and Tottenham MP David Lammy - and students performed music and drama pieces before the prize-giving.
Peter Hain said:
“The students have shown fantastic talent and their commitment in researching Oliver Tambo – who they knew nothing about – and delivering what’s on display today is inspirational. They have captured perfectly the values of social justice, equality and democracy and human rights that he fought so hard for. It is a real privilege to be here and witness such participation and engagement.”
One of the winning entries was a poem called ’30 Years’ by Precious, aged 17 from Tottenham, who goes to Greig City Academy in Hornsey.
“I didn’t know anything about Oliver Tambo before this competition but I found researching him and his life really interesting,” she said. “I took two days over this poem and was shocked to win because there was so many talented entries out there.”
“I made a wire sculpture of his head,” said another award-winner, Stanley, aged 12, a pupil at Park View. “He was an amazing man who sacrificed so much and did his bit to change the world for other people who are suffering.”
Cllr Kober said:
"Congratulations to Park View for organising such a great event, and to all of the talented Haringey students who shared their tributes to Oliver Tambo. We're enormously proud of the part that Haringey played in the anti-apartheid movement over many years, and it's fantastic to see today's young people showing such interest in this important chapter in the history both of our borough and of the global fight against apartheid."
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