ARCHBISHOP Emeritus Desmond Tutu yesterday urged South Africans not to give up hope, saying, “The few who want to spoil things for everyone will not succeed.”
“Easter is a glorious surprise because it is preceded by one of the most awful things to happen to anyone, in which a good and righteous person was put to death in a most cruel manner,” the archbishop said.
“There is no evil too awful for God’s goodness, so we must not give up, because we have a beautiful land and we are a beautiful people.”
He urged South Africans to take heart and emulate the veterans of the Struggle who had inspired people to resist injustice. “Let us be those who want to carry on the legacy of Madiba and (Walter) Sisulu.”
Tutu, appearing jovial and upbeat despite his ill health, arrived about an hour before the Good Friday mass at St George’s Cathedral yesterday.
He joked with Felicia Mabuza-Suttle, who was part of the receiving party for a special ceremony with former US ambassador, civil rights campaigner and philanthropist Andrew Young, who committed to a $5 000 (R77 363) donation from his Andrew Young Foundation to The Tutudesk Campaign. Tutu’s campaign provides durable plastic lap desks, known as Tutudesks, to pupils in disadvantaged schools across sub-Saharan Africa. Mabuza-Suttle is the Young foundation publicist.
The campaign, led by Tutu and his wife Leah’s eldest daughter Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe, aims to supply 20 million Tutudesks to 20 million children by 2020. The first 1.5 million desks have already been distributed in 24 African countries.
The colourful desks feature portraits of and messages from Tutu and Mandela, the national anthem, a map of South Africa, the alphabet and multiplication tables.
Tutu’s admiration for Young’s diplomatic initiatives to help break the South African apartheid logjam came through clearly when he told Young: “You were a trailblazer, one of the first of your race to represent your country and you were very successful. But had you not succeeded it would have been a blot on all of us.”
Young responded, telling Tutu that former US president Jimmy Carter had been one of his great admirers. He also gave some insight into the diplomatic task he had been assigned during the 1970s, in South Africa and several other countries on the continent.
Of his support for the Tutudesk campaign, Young said he was inspired by his granddaughter, who told him she did not want a birthday present, but preferred to donate a Tutudesk.
Young did not present Tutu with an actual cheque, but read a message to say the money had been transferred.
“It is with great humility and honour that the Andrew Young Foundation presents you with $5 000 for the Tutudesk campaign,” he said.