Archbishop Desmond Tutu: A Servant Of God Or Politician?

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Former Archbishop Desmond Tutu is South Africa’s most popular religious leader, who witnessed the atrocities, massacre, oppression, and killings of South Africans, in the apartheid era, by the white minority government of South Africa. To the oppressed South Africans, Tutu was a “messiah” but to the white minority, he was a “devil,” since his aim is to fight against apartheid and bring a change in his beloved South Africa.

It was this objective which placed him in a center of a political storm. He is viewed by a section of the public to belong to the pulpit, rather than politics. Born October 7th, 1931, in Klerksdorp (Transvaal) in South Africa, to a schoolmaster called Zachariah and a poor woman called Aletha Matlehare, who washed clothes for a white family. Tutu married a lady by name Leah Nomalizo and had four children with her. In the midst of political hatred, he rose from the scum society, defied all odds and emerged as a unique man of God.

Desmond Tutu believes that as a man of God, he has a duty to perform, even if that will lead him to death. Through his lifetime, he condemned apartheid and spoke strongly against politicians, who were opposing his dream of liberating the oppressed South Africans to be a reality. As a minister of God, he is considered to and expected to stick to religion and leave the realms of politics to politicians. But this is something he wasn’t prepared to do.

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Barack Obama and Desmond Tutu

It was his condemnation against the evils of apartheid, which has led some come to the conclusion that Tutu is a political priest, a subversive rather than a man of peace. As a matter of fact, there is no way a true priest, or man of God, can sit without care, looking at the killings of innocent people and children, without any intervention. It is against this background that one has to understand that Tutu is not a politician, even though his actions and public utterances have direct political implications.

In the field of Christianity, many are those who are known to be God servants. In Europe and America, how many priests have taken the trouble of visiting war affected victims or victims of natural disasters apart from Reverend Jesse Jackson and Desmond Tutu in Africa? The 83-year-old Truth and Reconciliation Commission chairman and Nobel peace laureate have travelled extensively to any part of the world including Sierra Leone and Rwanda.

In 1984, he visited Nairobi-Kenya and gave a keynote address on human rights and apartheid. He received an emotional welcome when he visited Kigali-Rwanda, a country torn apart by mass and brutal killings between Tutsis and Hutus. He has visited Ghana, many times. But his visit again in 1994, to the Holy Trinity Cathedral Church in Accra, was another significant day in the history of Ghana. Not even a president has such admirers. As if the mighty God, has come down to earth in the likelihood of a man, Tutu’s presence was felt by everyone.

Despite his concern for suffering people and his ability to solve disputes, when he received his Noble Peace in Oslo-Norway in 1984, while Africans generally were glad for his recognition of his good works, a section of the media greeted his prize with derision and was scorned by the white administration.

God took the whole human life seriously and sent his servants to help mankind. It is this Godly work of solving conflicts, helping the poor and helpless victims, attending conferences and preaching that Tutu stands for. In this way, Tutu is seen as another Moses, not of the old testament but of the new in Africa generally.

Bitter Fruit

With the publication of Kafka’s Curse, Achmat Dangor established himself as an utterly singular voice in South African fiction. His new novel, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the IMPAC-Dublin Literary Award, is a clear-eyed, witty, yet deeply serious look at South Africa’s political history and its damaging legacy in the lives of those who live there.

Bitter

The last time Silas Ali encountered Lieutenant Du Boise, Silas was locked in the back of a police van and the lieutenant was conducting a vicious assault on Silas’s wife, Lydia, in revenge for her husband’s participation in Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress. When Silas sees Du Boise by chance twenty years later, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is about to deliver its report, crimes from the past erupt into the present, splintering the Alis’ fragile peace.

Meanwhile Silas and Lydia’s son, Mikey, a thoroughly contemporary young hip-hop lothario, contends in unforeseen ways with his parents’ pasts. A harrowing story of a brittle family on the crossroads of history and a fearless skewering of the pieties of revolutionary movements, Bitter Fruit is a cautionary tale of how we do, or do not, address the past’s deepest wounds.

The Author

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Achmat Dangor (.in 1948), is a South African writer and the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. The Nelson Mandela Foundation promotes and enables the growth of human fulfillment and the continuous expansion of the frontiers of freedom.

Before joining the foundation in January 2007, Mr. Dangor was Director of Advocacy, Communications and Leadership at UNAIDS, and before that, he was Interim Director of the World AIDS Campaign. Previously, Mr. Dangor served as Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.

Prior to that, he worked in the private sector, including a 13-year stint as a senior executive in Revlon Inc.’s South African subsidiary. As the founding executive director of the Kagiso Trust (1986-1991) he worked alongside prominent political and church leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to build up the largest black-led foundation in South Africa.

In 1993, Mr. Dangor returned to South Africa to head up the Secretariat of the Drought Forum created by the newly unbanned liberation movements, churches and community organizations to coordinate relief efforts at the height of the severe drought of early 1990’s.

The Forum’s brief was to ensure that government and private resources reached the neediest people and that a solid development foundation was laid. In 1994 he joined the Independent Development Trust (IDT) as director for rural development, and later served as its acting CEO during a crucial transformation period.

During this time he was also a member of various task groups set up by the office of then Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki, to create the Transitional National Development Trust (TNDT) and its successor, the National Development Agency (NDA).

Achmat Dangor is a writer who has published five works of fiction and poetry. It is a vocation that he continues to pursue as he has an active interest in the arts and culture. Random House bought his first USA publication in 1999 and his last novel has been translated into five languages.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation leads the development of a living legacy that captures the vision and values of Nelson Mandela’s life and work. Through the creation of strategic networks and partnerships, the Nelson Mandela Foundation directs resources, knowledge and practice to add value and demonstrate new possibilities. It embodies the spirit of reconciliation, ubuntu and social justice.

http://www.amazon.com/Achmat-Dangor/e/B000API124/