Oliver Reginald Kaizana Tambo (O.R) was born in the village of Kantilla, Bizana, in the Pondoland (eQawukeni), in the Eastern Cape, on 27 October 1917. His mother, Julia, was the third wife of Mzimeni Tambo, son of a farmer and an assistant salesperson at a local trading store. His father had four wives and ten children and, although illiterate, lived comfortably. Mzimeni Tambo was a traditionalist, but also saw the importance of Western education. Later, Mzimeni converted to Christianity while Oliver’s mother was already a devout Christian. After his birth, Oliver was christened Kaizana, after Kaizer Wilhelm of Germany, whose forces fought the British during World War 1. This was his father’s way of showing his political awareness and his opposition to the British colonisation of Pondoland in 1878.