South African President Jacob Zuma has commended Zambia for declaring the Oliver Tambo house a national Monument in honor of the late African National Congress (ANC) leader Oliver Tambo, who lived in Zambia during the struggle for that country’s liberation.
President Zuma praised Zambia for taking the risk to host the ANC and its leadership.
President Zuma said Zambia was a target by the apartheid region especially in 1980s when the region was out to assassinate members of the liberation movements, which led to the bombing of countries that hosted such movements.
He said hosting Mr Tambo and the ANC headquarters for 22 years will never be forgotten by South Africa, adding that declaration of the house in which he lived further strengthens the ties between the two nations.
The South African Head of State was speaking during the joint official launch of the Oliver Tambo House as a national monument.
And President Lungu stated that heritage sites play an important role in educating the general public about their past and development of the nation.
The President noted that it was imperative that heritage conservation and sustainable development are used as a strategy for tourism diversification, education promotion, national identity and pride enhancement, national unity and peace fostering as well as regional integration.
The head of state added that besides the Oliver Tambo site, more historical sites should be identified and declared as national monuments.
President Lungu noted that the declaration of the house as a national monument marks the beginning of a journey of more national monuments.
He said the liberation sites in Zambia such as those connected to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia and other neighboring countries should be exploited, as Zambia was home to a number of liberation movements from the African region.
President Lungu has since appealed to neighboring countries to work together with Zambia to document, protect and present the heritage, as a common African legacy.
He noted that the month of October is memorable for both South Africa and Zambia as they celebrate the year of Oliver Tambo and the Life of Patriotic Front founder Michael Sata.
He said time has come for Zambia and other African counties to celebrate their own heritage.
Meanwhile First Republican President Kenneth Kaunda said liberating Southern African countries was not easy as it came with a lot of sacrifices.
Dr. Kaunda said Zambia sacrificed a lot to ensure that the region was liberated, saying the country lost too many good people and property in the process to liberate the region.
He said the new generation should never forget the friendship between South Africa and Zambia and it spans decade following the help Zambia rendered during the struggle.
Dr Kaunda hosted Oliver Tambo and the ANC in Lusaka and other liberation movements from the region that were fighting for freedom.
Oliver Tambo who led the ANC from 1967 to 1991 spent 22 years of exile in Zambia and was given a house in then Chelstone Green which is now part of Avondale in Lusaka.
Oliver Tambo could have turned 100 years this year if he had lived and the declaration coincides with the month in which he was born.