He went into exile in 1960 during the turbulent period when the apartheid government had begun clamping down on political organizations and the individuals who lead them. It was during this period that the Sharpeville riots and the formation of uMkhonto we Sizwe, the ANC military wing occurred.
While O.R. Tambo was in exile, Nelson Mandela was captured by the security police in South Africa and was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island along with Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Walter Sisulu, Elias Motsoaledi and others. It was at this juncture that Tambo became the defacto President of the ANC. Over the next 30 years O.R. Tambo traversed the globe in a successful attempt to secure international solidarity for the anti-apartheid movement.
All South Africans should walk in the footsteps of this great man, O.R. Tambo, by espousing the values that he possessed namely, Integrity, Passion, Patriotism and Humility. Tambo united the people of the world against apartheid by establishing and maintaining strong international ties. As a result of the wide spread support garnered from the international community, apartheid South Africa became a pariah state.