"When the missionaries came to Africa they had the bible in one hand and we had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”
~ Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
The two greatest forces with the human condition that we inhabit are the ability to love, and the ability to forgive. All to often with the noise, and requirements of daily survival we find both difficult to truly embrace, and express. Luckily we have been blessed in the twentieth, and now twenty-first centuries to have references be they Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Dali Llama, Nelson Mandela, and in the irrepressible Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu who is ever present in reminding us of our true nature. His contribution to humanity not only helped to bring down the brutal apartheid of South Africa, but his constant vigil and omnipresence is a reminder of our individual capacity to bring hope to a world often time marred in conflict. If you have not read his 'Speak Truth To Power' piece, then let us share...
"There’s a high level of unemployment in South Africa that helps fuel a serious level of crime. These things feed off one another because the crime then tends to make foreign investors nervous. And there aren’t enough investors to make a significant impact on the economy so the ghastly legacies of apartheid-deficits in housing, in education, and health-can be truly addressed.
If you were to put it picturesquely, you would say this man and this woman lived in a shack before April 1994. And now, four years down the line, the same man and woman still live in a shack. One could say that democracy has not made a difference in material existence, but that’s being superficial.
There are changes of many kinds. Things have changed significantly for the government, despite the restrictions on resources. The miracle of 1994 still exists and continues despite all of these limiting factors that contribute to instability. They are providing free health care for children up to the age of six and for expectant mothers. They are providing free school meals and education through elementary school. But the most important change is something that people who have never lived under repression can never quite understand-what it means to be free. I am free.
How do I describe that to you who have always been free? I can now walk tall with straight shoulders, and have this sense of pride because my dignity, which had been trodden underfoot for so long, has been restored. I have a president I love-who is admired by the whole world. I now live in a country whose representatives do not have to skulk around the international community. We are accepted internationally, in sports, etcetera. So some things have changed very dramatically, and other things have not changed.
When I became archbishop in 1986, it was an offense for me to go and live in Bishopscourt, the official residence of the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town. Now we live in a village that used to be white, and nobody turns a head. It’s as if this is something we have done all our lives. Schools used to be segregated rigidly, according to race. Now the schools are mixed. Yes, whites tend to be able to afford private schools. But government schools, which in the past were segregated, have been desegregated. Now you see a school population reflecting the demography of our country."
Read the rest of the article here at Speak Truth to Power.