Tutu gets honorary doctorate

2011-01-27 20:04

Bloemfontein - Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of the Free State on Thursday.

The dean of the UFS's Faculty of Theology, Professor Francois Tolmie, said the university honoured Tutu for his contribution as theologian, through his teaching and the books he wrote.

He said Tutu also played a role in bringing about reconciliation in South Africa as well as in the rest of the world.

UFS Rector Jonathan Jansen said the university was honouring a "great son of South Africa" who made a tremendous contribution to peace, reconciliation and justice in South Africa and in the world.

Jansen said Tutu was recognised around the world as a moral leader committed to the human rights of all people.

"My heart leaps," Tutu said in reaction to questions about him receiving an honorary degree from the UFS.

"Especially, coming at a time after a traumatic event in the life of this institution," he said at the launch of the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice after receiving the honorary degree.

He said it was a wonderful experience to come to an institution knowing that a healing process had begun.

Wonderful

Tutu commended Jansen for the "courage" he had shown and the decisions he had made.

The establishment of the institute was a further indication that "this place (UFS) will be turned upside down" in many ways.

Relating an old story of travelling through the Free State, Tutu said black people were not even allowed to enter a shop.

"To think you could not go into a shop, incredible, you had to go to a window. You had to carry 'padkos' (provisions)," said Tutu while breaking into his well-known laugh.

At a later stage he again spontaneously burst out laughing: "But it is wonderful to be here, walking around here. Fantastic, you have to pinch yourself", Tutu said.

Referring to the Reitz racial incident three years ago, Tutu said what the boys had done was wrong and he thought the idea behind the forming of the institute was because the boys "were as much victims of a vicious system.

"You lose your humanity on both sides and our work in this beautiful South Africa is; let us recover our humanity. Even the perpetrators remain a child of God."

Tutu said people should not forget atrocities because they would then not value the democratic South Africa.


- SAPA

Read more on:    ufs  |  desmond tutu  |  bloemfontein
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