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Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu honoured at Annual Peace Lecture

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CPUT in conjunction with the South African Council of Churches (SACC) hosted the Annual Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture on 7 October 2008. The lecture, which took place at the Bellville Campus, also marked the Archbishop Emeritus’ 77th birthday.

The event, themed, “Let justice flow like a river"", was to honour the role the Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu had played in championing the struggle both in South Africa and globally.

SA Council of Churches Rev Dr Vuyani Vellem, who delivered the peace lecture, touched on the role the Archbishop Emeritus and the church had played during apartheid and post-apartheid.

Referring to the current political changes in South Africa, Vellem raised concerns on the role of the church, post-apartheid.

“The church certainly got lost,” he said.

Rev Dr Vellem said the SACC had openly stated that one of the mistakes they had made was to adopt a notion of “critical solidarity with the state.” He said the church must now be “critically engaged with the state.

Rev Dr Vellem said the church has a stake in promoting democracy.

“The meaning of democracy, the protection of democracy and the feeding of morality in democratic discourse characterises the role of the church in our context. The church does not perform this role arbitrarily. The church is called to read the signs of the times,” he said.

He told the audience that the SACC is in the process of developing a document, which will state what South Africans expect from democracy and the leaders in office.

The Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, a Nobel peace prize winner, who is known for being outspoken, backed Rev Dr Vellem.

He too said the church had lost its way since the advent of democracy.

""The church has found it very difficult to change from the ‘against’ mode to the 'for' mode,” he said.

He also raised concerns around the current political climate in South African and issues of democracy. Referring to biblical text, he said many South Africans are still in the “wilderness.”

The Archbishop Emeritus said some South Africans had already crossed the “river Jordan”, while many others had been left behind.

He said in the current context of South Africa, this parable was important to remember.

Meanwhile, CPUT Vice-chancellor, Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga said the newly formed relationship with the SACC had been received with “joy” by the entire university community.

Prof Mazwi-Tanga said CPUT prides itself as being an engaged university. “Partnerships with communities, churches and civil organisations are central to our business,” she said.

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Photograph: Vice-Chancellor Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga chats to Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu.

Written by CPUT News

Email: news@cput.ac.za