THE WORST thing to teach children is to hate.
This was part of the message of forgiveness from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Reverend Mpho Tutu, at the launch of their book, The Book of Forgiving, held at St George’s Cathedral last night.
“They don’t come into this world hating.”
He added that forgiveness was a gift to yourself.
“As we arrived here tonight there was a couple holding hands, one was white and the other black. A few years ago they would have been arrested. Has the sky fallen in? No.”
He added that one of the most difficult things to do was to apologise.
“When you are upset or angry at someone it makes us sick.
“In every language the most difficult words are ‘I’m sorry’... even to say it in the privacy of our bedrooms.”
Mpho added the book was a road map or guide to forgiveness.
“This book is to get from the anguish of being hurt to the freedom of forgiveness, how to be healed.”
She added there was a revenge and forgiveness cycle people chose.
“A revenge cycle is when you hurt me and I hurt you back. It continues that way into infinity.”
However the forgiveness cycle was when people chose to acknowledge that they had been hurt, and decided to tell their story and offer forgiveness.
“You then decide whether you want to renew or release that relationship. When you look at the world you can see where the forgiveness and revenge cycles are at work.”
When questioned from the audience on how and whom poverty-stricken families should forgive for apartheid, Tutu responded that it saddened him.
“There are many things which should have been different, but aren’t.
“I am sad. I looked forward to sit at the touchlines cheering you young ones on as you accomplished one milestone after another. No one expected paradise overnight, but we have the resources.”
Tutu was further questioned on how he would apply his “principle of forgiveness” after he has been so critical about the lack of leadership in government.
Mpho responded: “The first demand on forgiveness is to tell the stories and name the hurt.
“In order to see the process (of forgiveness) in the country, we need to say the things which need forgiveness.
“Perhaps we are only at the beginning of that process.”
Recently Tutu said he was glad former president Nelson Mandela and other freedom fighters were not alive to witness the slow pace of transformation in South Africa.
“I’m glad that Madiba is dead. I’m glad that most of these people are no longer alive to see this,” Tutu was quoted as saying by the Sunday Times.
He made the comments when he was interviewed ahead of the release of the book.
“I didn’t think there would be a disillusionment so soon,” he said.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe was quoted by the paper as saying: “The problem in this country, in general, is everyone speaks for Nelson Mandela, but the people who speak for him do not do so efficiently.”
Tutu said at a briefing last Wednesday that he no longer supported the ANC’s leadership as he did when he first voted on April 27, 1994.
“I have sought to support a party that would be as close as possible to the sorts of things we would love to see. On the whole the ANC was that,” he said.
“Have you noticed the past tense?” he said. – Additional Reporting by Sapa