Desmond Tutu Lecture – ‘The Musings of a Decrepit’

Posted on March 11, 2011. Filed under: News |

First, let me start this post by saying on behalf of the IJR that our heartfelt thoughts are with those in Japan in the aftermath of the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the country this morning. With current tsunami warnings for New Zealand, the Phillipines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii and others, we urge you all to take good care. President Zuma has just issued a statement conveying South Africa’s deepest condolences to the people of Japan.


Earlier this week, IJR Patron and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu delivered what was widely reported to be among his final lectures at the University of the Western Cape, where he has served as Chancellor for many years. Entitled ‘The Musings of a Decrepit’, Tutu recalls South Africa’s transition to democracy and the important role of the University in the anti-apartheid struggle.

He also, however, dedicates much of the lecture to reminding South Africans about the need for continued vigilance and the dangers of silence:

“Sometimes, many times, I have wanted to be circumspect, even to be silent, but it has not been possible and most of my utterances, no all of my utterances are inspired, driven by my love for God, and a passionate love form my country and for my compatriots. And so I condemned the pernicious Aids policies of a previous administration.”

Tutu, while expressing his love of South Africa and fondness for President Zuma, called for “a truly compassionate country” in which no one lacked food and “everyone mattered and knew they mattered”. He asked,

“Why are we not building decent homes for our people when we have shown we can build state-of-the-art stadiums? Why are we letting our towns and cities deteriorate with poor maintenance and services, especially for the poor who are beginning to show their impatience and anger in nasty demonstrations?”

Tutu also warned of the corrosive effects of corruption and a lack of accountability, referring specifically to President Zuma’s own corruption trial, the need for a judicial commission of inquiry into the Arms Deal, the medical parole of Shabir Shaik, and business relationships between the Zuma and Gupta families

The Presidency, however, declined to respond. Read the full lecture here.


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