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.


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.

  • michael.e.bowery - 2011-01-27 20:50

    Dear Desmond, I feel, due to my age, I can address you thus. Why oh why, if you are concerned with Christian values, do you not go hammer and tongs at this Godless government and its ceaseless looting of this country. There is corruption at every turn , the killing of farmers and families and its blind eye to the plight of the poor in the constant plundering of this country's assets. It is a looting ground for aunts uncles , cousins and any family hangers on that feel it ought to share in the spoils . If you took up the challenge, I would have some faith in the Anglican church once more. Like other honest ANC party members, you swallow hard and do nothing but try to rationalise it. Christianity Desmond, means standing up to oppression and corruption in government. Or is that too much to ask for a man of the cloth - full of Doctorates but lacking somehow in integrity.

      Proffie - 2011-01-27 21:11

      He is Michael, but like everything else in this country, its like farting against thunder. Tutu has been, and always will be anti 'dishonesty'. He called for sanctions years ago during the previous government, and has continued against the ANC. He is a real mensch, a man I can take my hat off to.

      damascus - 2011-01-28 09:48

      He has always been at the fore front when it comes to condemning the corruption and illicit activities of members of the government, to his detriment in many cases. The reality is that no one man of the cloth can change the situation in this country.

  • mcpotgieter - 2011-01-27 21:08

    Thank you Michael. You've hit the nail on the head. Not so long ago I wrote a letter in the same vein to Time magazine, but it was not published. What annoys me further is that the Kovsies are falling over their feet to be pc in public, while the most atrocious injustices and murders are happening under their noses in the Free State.

  • coolwaynie - 2011-01-28 06:54

    South African universities give out doctorates like smarties these days. The doctorates aren't worth the paper they're printed on...

  • Gazza Boy - 2011-01-28 07:44

    If Desmond really is such a Christian why has he said nothing about the removing of the word "God" saga?

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