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Diallo Telli Boubacar (1925 - 1977)

The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo in

Diallo Telli Boubacar (1925 - 1977) Awarded for:
His exceptional contribution to the struggle against colonialism and for championing the unity of the African continent.
Profile of Diallo Telli Boubacar

Diallo Telli Boubacar was born in 1925 at Poredaka in the administrative region of Mamou in the Republic of Guinea. Boubacar attended primary schools in Guinea, the William Ponty Teacher Training College (Senegal) and the Dakar Lycée, where he obtained his Baccalauréate in 1948. He was sent to Paris to study at Lycée Louis le Grand, the prestigious academic institution where he read Law and History while preparing for the entrance examination of the Ecole Nationale de la France d'Outre-Mer. In 1951, he obtained a Law degree from the Paris Law Faculty and in the same year was called to the bar at the Paris Court of Appeal. Three years later, he obtained the higher Doctor's degree in Private Law.

He cut his promising legal career in Paris short when the call to return to his mother continent became overwhelming. He first took up the position as Deputy Public Prosecutor of the Court of Thies in Senegal in 1954 and in 1955 as Head of the Private Office of the High Commissioner for French West Africa.

In April 1957, he was elected Secretary-General of the Grand Council of French West Africa. After his country achieved independence in 1958, he was appointed Ambassador to Washington. Boubacar also represented his country at the United Nations (UN) and in 1962 he was elected Vice-President of the UN General Assembly. The following year, he was elected Chairperson of the Special Committee of the UN on the Policies of Apartheid.

Boubacar's brilliance saw him act as personal representative of President Sékou Toure for whom he carried out numerous goodwill missions to the countries of French West Africa and Africa. He was a member of his country's delegation to negotiate with the Ghanaian Government the formation of the Ghana-Guinea Union. He was a key player, as representative of President Toure, in the preparations for the African Heads of State and Government Summit Conference which led to the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). At its First Session in Cairo, Boubacar was elected Secretary-General of the OAU in July 1964, a position he held until 1972.

Through his wise counsel and guiding hand, the continent was able to establish the principal organisation of continental liberation. Moreover, his implacable opposition to apartheid led him to play a leading role, both on the continent and on the international stage, in isolating the South African apartheid regime.