We are all one family, says Tutu

2012-02-17 09:00

Cape Town - Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu says South Africa is a country of contrasting realities between excessive wealth and dire poverty.

"We live in a society of conspicuous consumption amid dire poverty, against a backdrop of some of the most breathtaking scenery on earth," he said in a speech.

"This is not just unfair, unsustainable and unjust, it is also unbiblical because God is notoriously biased in favour of those who suffer and those who are poor."

Tutu was speaking at the launch of the Franschhoek Valley transformation charter launch in the Western Cape on Thursday evening.

Tutu said society had failed in narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor.

Wealth tax

This was despite overcoming apartheid, the leadership of former president Nelson Mandela, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the rise of a black economic elite.

Even in Cape Town, the lifestyle gap could be seen with a "preponderance of German limousines" and expensive real estate compared to townships enrolled in malnutrition programmes.

Tutu praised the Franschhoek initiative for its work in transformation.

"You have recognised that it is untenable to live so near yet so far apart from one another.

"You have understood that no matter if we have straight blonde hair or lustrous peperkorrels [peppercorns], where we worship or what language we speak, we are members of one family."

He said he felt the real reason he got into trouble for mentioning a wealth tax was that he forced white citizens to seriously consider the extent to which they benefited during apartheid through superior education and economic opportunities.

"It was a call for magnanimity - a plea for ubuntu."

Tutu said that through community initiatives, the youth could become activists and reduce inequality, intolerance and selfishness.

- SAPA
Read more on:    desmond tutu  |  cape town  |  racism  |  poverty
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