USF is set to welcome one of the biggest names the school has seen in quite some time.Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu will speak tonight at 7 at the Sun Dome. His lecture is titled “No Future Without Forgiveness: An Evening with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.”
Tutu made some of the biggest contributions to ending apartheid, a movement he called “evil and unChristian.” In 1957, he left his teaching job to become a priest. He entered the priesthood of the Anglican Church in 1960.
“At the time when I was born right up to 1994, black people didn’t have the vote,” he said in an interview with the St. Petersburg Times this week. “You were talked about, you were legislated for, (but) you were never really consulted.”
Despite the harsh realities of South Africa during apartheid, Tutu never resorted to violence.
“To some extent, one can call him the Martin Luther King (Jr.) of South Africa,” said Derina Holtzhausen, an associate professor in the School of Mass Communications.She calls Tutu a symbol of forgiveness for the whole world and a real-life role model.
“I think people have learned, and particularly through Bishop Tutu’s example, that the only way to move forward even if you have very deep resentment is to forgive,” Holtzhausen said.Holtzhausen, a South Africa native, lived there until about eight years ago and has previously attended one of Tutu’s lectures.
“It was undoubtedly the most moving experience I’ve ever had,” she said. “(The audience was) so touched and so moved by his love for everybody.”
Although Tutu is a religious leader, Holtzhausen said his lecture was not religious at all.
“I did not hear any religion in the speech that he gave,” she said. “He is of course a religious leader, but he is more of a moral leader. His message is truly humanitarian.”
According to Moreorless.au.com, a Web site that lists profiles of iconic figures, Tutu was tired of the deterioration of education for black students caused by the Bantu Education Act of 1953.
“It just occurred to me that, if the Church would have me, the profession of priest could be a good way of serving my people,” said Tutu, according to the Web site.
In 1975, Tutu was appointed dean of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg. He was the first black to hold the position. He was also the first black general secretary of the South African Council of Churches, which he was appointed to in 1978.
In 1984, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to stop the apartheid and in recognition of the “courage and heroism shown by black South Africans in their use of peaceful methods in the struggle against apartheid.”
In 1986, Tutu was elected archbishop of Cape Town, becoming the head of the Anglican Church in South Africa. Eight years later he was appointed to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, investigating the previous human rights violations of blacks in South Africa. Tutu took a peaceful approach; he counseled forgiveness.
Tutu relinquished his position as Cape Town archbishop in 1996. He was then named archbishop emeritus and today is a professor of theology at Emory University in Atlanta. He has published several writings, including The Rainbow People of God, Where God Happens and No Future Without Forgiveness, a memoir of this time as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Chapter one begins on April 27, 1994, the first day that blacks could vote in South Africa. He was 62 years old.
Archbishop Tutu’s lecture is free and open to the public.
The lecture is sponsored by the University Lecture Series in partnership with the Peace Through Diversity Lecture Series and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration Committee.