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Oliver Tambo Heritage House, Zambia

Submission by Kamfwa Sandu

My favourite building in Africa is the Oliver Tambo heritage house. The Safehouse was occupied by O.Tambo during the time he spent in Zambia while in exile as he was known for his leadership in the liberation struggle against the apartheid regime in and outside South Africa.

Unlike standard two-storey homes, the safe house was designed in a way that strategically placed the only staircase leading to the second floor outside (specifically on the right side so it would not be visible) and had direct access to a secret back gate. The intention was to confuse the enemy when under attack as they entered through the front entrance in search of O.Tambo who occupied the second floor giving him enough time to escape before they realised they had no access to the upper floor. I believe the Heritage House is a symbol of the role architecture played in providing a safe haven in the liberation movements againstapartheid as such architectural detail proved successful to O.Tambo who went on to have a great impact on Africa.

Furthermore, it shows the importance and impact architecture has in our lives with great emphasis on the saying ‘form follows function’

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