|Tutu at COP17 UN Climate Change Conf S. Africa (wikipedia.org ())|
When researching the life of Archbishop Desmond Tutu the
first thing that came to mind was, 'Does this man ever sleep?' Born in 1931, in
Klerksdorp, South Africa, the second of three children of a principal father
and cleaner/cook mother he developed his empathy for others early. A white
priest, Trevor Huddleston influenced Tutu at a very young age when he tipped
his hat to his mother, the only time he had ever seen courtesy to a black
person from a white person. Tutu would always remember that kindness and was
influenced greatly by this man.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has lived and worked most of his
life in chaotic times in South Africa. Apartheid, defined in the
Merriam-Webster dictionary as: "a former social system in South Africa in which
black people and people from other racial groups did not have the same
political and economic rights as white people and were forced to live
separately from white people."
in his father's footsteps, he became a teacher, but 3 years later his activism
began when realizing that the Bantu Education Act
was the Apartheid government's
way of keeping blacks at the bottom of the education scale compared to whites,
he quit. Shortly after he married Nomalizo Leah Shenxane, another teacher, they
had four children, Trevor Armstrong Thamsanga Tutuk Theresa Ursula Thandeka
Tutu, Naomi Nontombi Tutu and Mpho Andrea Tutu.
|Apartheid Sign banning non whites from swimming. (wikipedia.org ())|
After teaching he went back to school to become a Theologian
and returned to his homeland in 1975 to "take up the post of Anglican Dean of
Johannesburg. Then came the Soweto Uprising brought on by the harsh treatment
of black students and ultimately to the massacre of many over their protests.
This led to world-wide outrage and added fuel to the fire of an already very
tense situation developing. Tutu was a huge voice against Apartheid but always
urged both sides to consider reconciliation. For such efforts his passport was
taken away and he was under surveillance and harassed by state security police.
But he would not be quiet. Many of
his fellow activists were banished to remote areas of South Africa so they
could not influence others to do the right thing. Because of his courage and
perseverance in his continued quest for equality of all races in South Africa,
especially black and white. He was awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize.
By 1986 he became Archbishop Desmond Tutu, making him the
official leader and first black cleric to head the Anglican Church in South
Africa. During this time Tutu upped the pressure on the SA government to
dismantle Apartheid and used his position to dissuade foreign investment in
South Africa or divestment if already there. This gained him more harassment
and surveillance by the security police. But due to the building country wide
and world wide pressure on South Africa for the rights of blacks and to end
these oppressive practices and violence against blacks the year 1990 dawned
into a new age. State President F.
W. Klerk freed Nelson Mandela from jail and lifted the ban on the African
National Congress (ANC), as well as the other political parties. Though this
created an explosion of violence, including the assassination of the prominent
leader, Chris Hani of the South African Communist Party (SACP), it also
triggered a further emotional outburst from Tutu that had a great deal to do
with what eventually occurred in the country.
|Engaging Youth for Peace (www.tutu.org ())|
Tutu, speaking at Mr. Hani's funeral spoke to the crowd of
120,000 about working peacefully together to end Apartheid to which they
responded by chanting with him: "We will be free! All of us! Black and white
together!" Archbishop Tutu said :"We are the rainbow people of God! We are
unstoppable! Nobody can stop us on our march to victory! No one, no guns,
nothing! Nothing will stop us, for we are moving to freedom! We are moving to
freedom and nobody can stop us for God is on our side!"
Many credit Tutu with having been a huge influence in ending
Apartheid and then partaking in the setting up and running of the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission, based in Cape Town, South Africa, with the hearings
starting in 1996. "The mandate of the commission was to bear
witness to, record and in some cases grant amnesty to the perpetrators of
crimes relating to human rights violations, as well as reparation and
TRC, the first of the nineteen held internationally to stage public hearings,
was seen by many as a crucial component of the transition to
full and free democracy in South Africa. Despite some flaws,
it is generally (although not universally) thought to have been successful."
Tutu said: "There
are different kinds of justice. Retributive justice is largely Western. The
African understanding is far more restorative - not so much to punish as to
redress or restore a balance that has been knocked askew."
|Mpho Tutu and her father Desmond Tutu (forgivenesschallenge.com ())|
Since then he has not stopped defending the oppressed. His
social rights activism has led him to fight poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia
and the epidemic of aids, among other issues. He has been awarded and honored
for his bravery, courage, activism and humanity so many times, it would fill a
book, so here are just a few: Nobel Peace Prize, 1984, The Albert Schweitzer Prize
for Humanitarianism, 1986, The Pacem in Terris Award, 1987, The Sydney Peace
Prize, 1999, The Gandhi Peace Prize, 2007 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Desmond Tutu partnered with his daughter Mpho to create the Tutu Global Forgiveness Challenge. "With Each act of
forgiveness, whether small or great, we move toward wholeness." Desmond and
Mpho Tutu, THE BOOK OF FORGIVING.
it out below and this just in from his twitter feed:
not too late....You can still go through all 30 Days of the #ForgivenessChallenge. http://journey.forgivenesschallenge.com
About the Challenge
Forgiveness Challenge will help you discover how the act of forgiving can bring
more love and peace to your life. When enough of us forgive - we can change the
up, and you'll receive a daily inspirational email from the Archbishop and Mpho
Tutu, with a link to join their online forgiveness community. The 30-day
Challenge starts whenever you do. Inside each daily email you'll get:
A link to log
into our website for daily exercises to teach you how to forgive anyone for
stories from ordinary people who have been transformed through forgiving or
the world's top forgiveness experts, great spiritual leaders, and well-known
celebrities, including Alanis Morissette and Arianna Huffington.
support from people just like you who are trying to live a more forgiving life.
And it's free!
Desmond Tutu is also a defender of our planet due to the onslaught of climate
change and recently spoke out in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada against the
rapid and possibly devastating expansion of the Tar Sands.
I have been so
moved and honored to write about this amazing man, amazing father and son,
|Archbishop Desmond Tutu on top of the world (intergrityinternationalmagazine.com ())|
I feel compelled to leave you with some inspirational quotes and words of wisdom from Desmond Tutu. Enjoy.
little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together
that overwhelm the world."
different kinds of justice. Retributive justice is largely Western. The African
understanding is far more restorative - not so much to punish as to redress or
restore a balance that has been knocked askew."
"I don't preach a social gospel; I preach the Gospel,
period. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned for the whole person.
When people were hungry, Jesus didn't say, 'Now is that political or social?'
He said, 'I feed you.' Because the good news to a hungry person is bread."
goodness sake, will they hear, will white people hear what we are trying to
say? Please, all we are asking you to do is recognise that we are humans
forgiveness there can be no future for a relationship between individuals or
within and between nations."
"You don't choose your
family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them."
"At home in South Africa I have sometimes
said in big meetings where you have black and white together: 'Raise your
hands!' Then I have said: 'Move your hands,' and I've said 'Look at your hands
- different colors representing different people. You are the Rainbow People of