Mandela still a symbol of unity: Tutu

2013-06-30 21:55

Cape Town - Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on Sunday hailed Nelson Mandela as an "incredible, incredible person" who was still uniting South Africans from the hospital bed where he is fighting for his life.

"Now after a lifetime of service, of giving, even stricken as he is in hospital, Madiba is uniting the nation again, this time in prayer," said Tutu.

Citing the outpouring of wishes and prayers from all races, Tutu said Mandela was still a bridge across the sometimes bitterly divided nation that he steered into multiracial democracy.

"Although our hearts are heavy, may we have the strength and the good sense to recognise this moment for what it is: an opportunity to reflect just once again on our promise to harness our collective energy," he added.

With the nation's first black leader entering his fourth week in hospital, Tutu - who like Mandela is a Nobel peace laureate - said it was a "sombre moment in the life of our country".

"We pray for his comfort and his dignity. We pray that we will be ready to commit him into the hands of our loving God," he said at the opening of an exhibition on Mandela in Cape Town.

Tutu later met visiting President Barack Obama at his foundation's HIV centre in the city, where he said it was a "special joy" to welcome the US leader to "the continent of his forebears".

"When you became the first black incumbent of the White House you don't know what you did for our psyche.

"My wife sat in front of a TV with tears running down her face when she watched the celebrations in Chicago. ... So welcome home, even if you're about to go," Tutu said.

There was also a lesson in the southern African "ubuntu" philosophy of humanity towards others - with a hint of criticism about Guantanamo Bay.

"As you have been here before to Africa, you have heard us speak of something called ubuntu... Your success is our success. Your failure, whether you like it or not, is our failure. And so we want to show you that we pray for you to be a great success," he said.

"We want you to be known as having brought peace to the world, especially as one who brought an end to the anguish to all in the Middle East. We pray you will be known as having brought peace to all the regions where there has been strife and peace and no need for Guantanamo Bay detention centre ... We are proud of you. You belong to us."

Obama recently renewed his pledge to shutter Guantanamo, which was set up in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks to hold terror suspects captured on foreign battlefields.

  • Nick - 2013-06-30 23:06

    @Jomo.. I believe the majority of white people in SA are not anti black. Often when I read comments on N24 I can't believe what is written by both whites and blacks. I am positive that these comments are not a true reflection of the majority.... The majority of whites and majority of blacks. The worst comments ( from black and white) come from the same people on N24. @Rebel... We don't need your type of comments in SA. If you can't see thing beyond the colour of one's skin then perhaps you don't belong in the new SA. President Obama treats all people equally, not by the colour of one's skin but by the persons character!

      Jomo Kgomo - 2013-06-30 23:13

      @Nick - I wish I could meet you. It has been a long time for me to read such a rich and building comment. However if we face facts racism is very strong on this platform. Thank you Nick.

      Feik Mc Heither - 2013-06-30 23:14

      I am seeing the light everyday, and you are very right. This is not the true reflection at all, and whoever thinks that you are dreaming Nick; is actually an example of a cyber-dreamer. What we have is us, and as people stop bashing each other with unnecessary and childish comments all the time. It's tired now. Peace, out.

      Real Nyax - 2013-06-30 23:14

      @ Nick. Well said Nick, I am sick and tired of stupid comments, when will people grow up?

  • Jomo Kgomo - 2013-06-30 23:28

    Mandela symbol of unity, true, Tutu symbol of division to support my line, Tutu has been championing division in ANC sad part of it he is not even a member. Please as a man of God in His eyes we are all equal therefore please stop destroying the legacy of Madiba.

      Johan De Beer - 2013-07-01 01:36

      So, do you want everyone to be ANC? Is he now divisive because he criticizes the corrupt and racist ANC? Grow up man. You should have quit while you were ahead.

      Angela Salloway - 2013-07-01 09:45

      Jomo, I think Tutu would like to see self thinking politicians, not just sheep following the party line. In other words if a politician doesn't like a law in the making he says so openly, even if his party is pushing it, like the secrets act.

  • Nick - 2013-06-30 23:32

    @Jomo. Thank you for your comment. I am a white person who would like to see this country work with equal opportunities for all races. In SA we have a leadership vacuum. When I listened to the way Obama spoke about SA and all it's people over the past 2 days its truly inspiring. This is the type of leadership we need in our country and I am confident this will happen soon. The intellectual 'born free's' are starting to come through the system.

  • ShyGuy Ranti Masekoameng - 2013-06-30 23:39

    Bishop of the RAINBOW NATION i love him

  • ShyGuy Ranti Masekoameng - 2013-06-30 23:39

    Bishop of the RAINBOW NATION i love him and yea i said it I LOVE HIM

  • Nick - 2013-06-30 23:45

    Jomo, I have to disagree with you on your recent comment. Yes, Mandela is a symbol of unity and this is acknowledged by the whole world for reasons we all know; however I don't think Tutu is trying to destroy Madiba's legacy. On the contrary, he is trying to uphold his legacy. What he is concerned about is corruption, nepotism, cronyism, education faltering, health sector deteriorating etc. Obama spoke about corrupt leadership in Africa. The reason you are seeing new political parties forming (Agang etc) is because people many people are not too happy with the present government. The fact that someone does not belong to the ANC does not mean that he doesn't want the legacy of Mandela to succeed.

      Jomo Kgomo - 2013-07-01 02:44

      @ Nick - this is the third time I m trying to respond my comment is somehow blocked. Man, you've made my day by giving me hope. This platform has been getting uglier and uglier which is pretty annoying. Nonetheless my opinion as a younger person Bishop is an elder and highly respected globally. What I have observed since ninety four he always poured petrol on already dangerous flames. He had many squabbles with Madiba, Mbeki and now Zuma. As a Bishop he should be trying to unite people and talk like an elder. Statements like I won't be able to call myself a South African are provocative and disillusioning. We should have learnt from the Germans after the fall of Berlin Wall they became one and moved forward, the Serbs and the Bosnians have done very well in relations, the Tutsis and the Hutus as well. But here we are wasting a lot of energy pointing fingers at each other and systems are falling apart. If the majority elects ANC are we suppose to criticize instead of working together with the ruling party in order to achieve our objectives or stand on the fence and blame others? We first need to reconcile, and this ca only be achieve through respect, forgiveness and understanding. Otherwise we all gonna suffer at the end of the day. We've seen in other parts of Africa systems crumbling is that what we want? Prosperity does not come easy it needs team work. Once again thank you Nick you made my day.

  • Nick - 2013-07-01 06:42

    @Jomo... perhaps you should read an extract from Wikipedia about Bishop Desmond particular the paragraph about his ' Role in South Africa to get a clearer understanding why he has been critical of the ANC leadership over the years.

      Jomo Kgomo - 2013-07-01 12:32

      Nick thanks, I am a fan of the Bishop and I read all the books he wrote and also read what you suggested however I want to emphasize that as elder he needs to guide us not confuse us. This is exactly what Madiba did he was not a leader who said yes today and no tomorrow. The Bishop should lead us to the promised land and stop turning back and forth.

  • Tshepo Maluleka - 2013-07-01 07:15

    Indeed he remain the unifying iconic figure in SA nd abroad!

  • Abudie Nkwandah - 2013-07-01 07:32

    iagree n comment that mandela z agud example in africa.

  • Thobile Blose - 2013-07-01 08:30

    Pieter go to hell you heartless fool you just don't belong here in SA!!!

  • Penelope Magona - 2013-07-01 08:31

    Love, peace and unity, all negative comments be turned to positive.....phew!Love you SAns

      Lynda Miracle Masuku - 2013-07-01 10:46

      I'm seeing mature comments for a change. This is the way South Africans should talk. I like that. Everyone has to be properly educated and well informed we will keep on seeing such good comments.

  • Danie Nel - 2013-07-01 08:58

    We dont need "symbols". We need actions by the ANC to realy unite. The ANC are driving blacks and whites further and further apart.

      Lynda Miracle Masuku - 2013-07-01 10:48

      It's true hey, but we shouldn't allow it. We must not allow ourselves to yield to prejudice. They current ANC may be responsible for dividing us, but it's our responsibility to ensure we don't succumb to it's ways of dividing us.

  • Thobile Blose - 2013-07-01 13:38

    Seconded Rose

  • Annalie Badenhorst - 2013-07-01 15:15

    Incredible indeed, everything applies only after 1994. Can you plse explain how many black people were killed under his supervision as head of Uk Sizwe. Not a word are being said about his life and actions before 1994. He is definetely not a saint merely a poor human being.

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