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Albert Road Rec: Council plans to rename Muswell Hill park after South African anti-apartheid leader Oliver Tambo

PUBLISHED: 07:45 15 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:30 18 October 2020

Cllr Joseph Ejiofor with Thembi Tambo in front of her father Oliver Tambo's Muswell Hill statue. The town hall wants to rename Albert Road Rec after the anti-apartheid leader. Picture: Haringey Council

Cllr Joseph Ejiofor with Thembi Tambo in front of her father Oliver Tambo's Muswell Hill statue. The town hall wants to rename Albert Road Rec after the anti-apartheid leader. Picture: Haringey Council

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Haringey Council is consulting on plans to rename Albert Road Rec after South African anti-apartheid leader Oliver Tambo.

Cllr Joseph Ejiofor next to Oliver Tambo's statue in the Albert Road Rec. Picture: Haringey CouncilCllr Joseph Ejiofor next to Oliver Tambo's statue in the Albert Road Rec. Picture: Haringey Council

President of the African National Congress between 1967 and 1991, Oliver Tambo, known to friends as OR, lived in exile with his family in Alexandra Park Road during the 1970s and 1980s.

Last year, a statue in his honour was unveiled in the park, and now the plan is to name it after him.

Haringey leader Cllr Joseph Ejiofor said: “I think it’s a really important thing for the borough that we find a way of honouring leaders like OR.

“One of the things clear from Black Lives Matter is all too often Black people who have led incredible change are not remembered, and we don’t ask to rename parks after them.

“This is a place people come to because of OR.”

READ MORE: Haringey mayor vows to tackle racism at start of Black History Month

OR’s daughter Thembi Tambo is the current South African High Commissioner in the UK. She told this newspaper: “The leader has really driven this whole process. I am very, very grateful and appreciative.

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“I grew up here. We spent all of our time running up and down this hill. It means a great deal.”

Glen Robinson, who has been part of the campaign to recognise Oliver Tambo in Haringey for “many, many years”, added: “This has been an amazing campaign and it’s very timely with the Black Lives Matter campaigning.

“OR was an incredible global statesman.”

Tony Dykes led Camden Council in the 1980s, headed up a number of anti-apartheid and anti-racism organisations and came to know OR Tambo and his wife Adelaide, who worked for Camden as a social worker.

He said: “It’s really great that Haringey are continuing to recognise OR. To rename the park will be a great gesture.”

Robby Sukhdeo, of the Friends of the Albert Road Rec and who runs the café there, said the idea was “widely supported” in the Muswell Hill community.

Cllr Ejiofor added: “We want to hear the views of our community and of park users. This is a park on the South African tourist trail in London because of OR and we want to reflect that.

“Renaming the park after OR shows very much what Haringey is about.”


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