A revered and world-renowned Haringey resident is to have his lasting contribution to the anti-apartheid and equal rights movement recognised after Cabinet approved plans last night to rename a park in his honour.

Oliver Reginald Tambo (known as ‘O.R.’ to friends and colleagues) served as the President of the African National Congress (ANC) between 1967 and 1991, with the majority of that almost-quarter of a century spent exiled in Muswell Hill with his wife, Adelaide, and their three children.

Thirty-one years ago tomorrow (11 February 1990), Nelson Mandela was released from prison, which was a pivotal step towards the end of apartheid in South Africa. Tambo returned that very same year to his homeland, where he passed away at the age of 75 on April 24 1993 before his close friend Mandela was elected as President of South Africa in 1994. In recognition of Tambo’s legacy to this locality and far beyond the borough’s boundaries, Albert Road Recreation Ground will now be known as O.R. Tambo Recreation Ground – a fitting tribute to a man who once lived within walking distance of the park.

Councillor Joseph Ejiofor, Leader of Haringey Council, said: “The decision to rename Albert Road Rec after Oliver Tambo is not only indicative of his long association with Haringey, but also reflects our borough’s culture, diversity and values. Haringey has always had a long-standing tradition of welcoming people from around the globe with open arms. We are a proud, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic borough that – for generations – has been a ‘home from home’ for people fleeing persecution from all over the world.

“We believe place names, street names and statues matter because it reflects the value we place on those people and the communities they represent. Furthermore, they can still act as role models for future generations, with their life achievements representing exemplary footsteps to follow for others.

“Oliver Tambo was an adopted son of Haringey. For a man who played a prominent role in the borough’s past, it’s only just that he should have a rightful place in our present and future.” The council is currently exploring ways in which it can also respectfully acknowledge and recognise the major contribution made by Oliver’s wife, Adelaide – both to local community life in Haringey and the global, anti-apartheid movement overall.

The requirement to highlight Adelaide’s own role was a recurring theme in many of the responses to the public consultation regarding the renaming of the park from Albert Road to O.R. Tambo. Meanwhile, as part of the council’s wider Review of Monuments, Building, Place and Street Names in Haringey, residents have until next Friday (19 February 20210) to have their say on the council’s proposal to rename Black Boy Lane to La Rose Lane.