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.

  • elsabe.wessels1 - 2012-02-17 09:06

    The rich becomes richer, and the poor poorer... #truestory

      miyo27 - 2012-02-17 09:32


      Joe - 2012-02-17 11:18

      Successful people does what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. It is a damn shame that able bodied & healthy adults require hand outs. People with severe disabilities have succeeded in life. The vast majority of people in this country have a distorted & corrupt value system. They follow the example of their leadership. Why work for something if you can get it for free? If you can't get it for free then simply amend the laws of this country and take it. The time has come to get real. Life owes you nothing. Even if this government manages to miraculously pull off the transfer of SA's entire wealth pool from all race groups to blacks, the vast majority will still have nothing. There are just too many black people that would like a share of the wealth pie. It is simple arithmetic, there is not enough to go around to satisfy even a small %.

      stevie0064 - 2012-02-17 11:27

      @elsabe.wessels1 But WHY do you think this happens? Is it because the rich steal from the poor? Or is it because the rich simply know how to manage their money better? Or is it, in fact, due to government corruption and bad economic policy that drives the price of basic foodstuffs up, making the rich a bit annoyed and the poor way poorer than they should be?

      Peter - 2012-02-17 13:43

      Alicia, notice that its the youth...90% of them were not around during apartheid, which leads me to believe that its the stories they hear, that they are acting on. Start with the old, and it will filter through to the young. An example of what i am saying, is when the parents protested outside and tried to shut down the school. What exactly are these people trying to teach their children? Its pure hooliganism. This whole idea of unity, is been driven apart, by the very same people/party who claim they want and aim for unity, but hidden agendas are a very real and scary thought.

  • ben.nel2 - 2012-02-17 09:06

    The Manson family

  • Janice - 2012-02-17 09:17

    We are not, and never were, or will be one family. PERIOD.

      Silver - 2012-02-17 09:35

      @Duncan: I see where you are going. Civilization vs. savages? Ironically you might be right.

  • Jason - 2012-02-17 09:18

    dont expect a Christmas Card

  • anthro45 - 2012-02-17 09:20

    It's funny how you only want me to be part of your family when you want me to fork out some money. I work hard for my moeny. I suggest you go and tell your family members to go and do the same.

  • miyo27 - 2012-02-17 09:33

    The day SA becomes one big family is the day the ANCYL is abolished. Then you'll see everybody hugging everybody

  • Grimett - 2012-02-17 09:38

    Nevermind colour, the Jameson drinking crew party alone,the Juba drinking crew party alone, thats how they roll now. Ubuntu is endangered and is heading for extinction.

  • Warwick - 2012-02-17 09:53

    Does this apply to the black elite with all their fancy trappings of crude wealth and bling luxury.

  • Herman - 2012-02-17 10:01

    A big happy family, like the ones who build the Tower of Babel....

  • AyGeewils - 2012-02-17 10:07

    Unfortunately - we are not. Our history is so polarised and our society is still divided very blatantly on racial and ethnic grounds. Unfortunately too - it is no longer the ethos of the ANC to inculcate diversity - with policies like 'The African Agenda', marginalisation of and legislation against minorities. His words are empty while a overtly racist goverment is in power.

  • Peter - 2012-02-17 10:16

    Tutu you are so right we did benefit during apartheid through superior education and economic opportunities but we as graduates started at the bottom and worked our way up.Now the shoe is one the other foot, do the same as what we did. Then only will South Africa bloom.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-02-17 10:34

    Mr. Tutu look around you take a deep breath and try again, though this time you need to point the finger at the ANC and its chosen Cadre, who have enriched themselves at the expense of the masses they supposedly fought to liberate, now, and here I know I will never get you to admit the truth in public, but at least to yourself, admit that the ANC did not, does not and never will work for the betterment of the poor unless doing so holds some material reward for them themselves. Also admit that the church is a wealthy organisation made so by the contributions and donations of the poor you so readily claim to support. The notion that white must give up their hard won luxury because the masses are to lazy to even attempt to raise their own standards of living, that despite 18 years of freedom have failed to even grow within their own settlements and communities. I already pay the rent of one family and supply monthly groceries for another, I make a point of supporting street sellers over established shops wherever possible and can never be accused of not caring. None of this stops me from being called and viewed as a white racist who stole from the blacks,irrespective of whether the belief of the masses is based on outright lies and deceit. take your hat and go ask for hand outs from the 1%ers who are the only people in this land to have made a profit or benefited from apartheid or the misfortune of the masses, speak to Julius Malema, Jacob Zuma, and the rest of the millionaires

      Piet - 2012-02-17 11:25

      Correction! Billionaires!

  • william - 2012-02-17 10:53


  • Doc - 2012-02-17 10:55

    "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." Read: If you are poor and struggling expect a bigger share of Gods blessings, less if you are successful (sounds fair enough) Question: Do I really want Gods blessings if they are bestowed on the poor and suffering? Will I not be depriving the poor of blessings by giving them my money? Don't get me wrong, by uplifting the poor and creating jobs and equal opportunity we will lift society as a whole, bringing Gods blessings into it just creates confusion though.

      Langalakhe Daniel Manqele - 2012-02-17 22:37

      I am tempted to call this whole Tutu story a fallacy. I also regard his comment as blasphemous "Notoriously biased". The point he's making forces me to request the definition of that God he's talkin about. It is excruciating to be told by a Bishop that you have to be poor to be closer to God.

  • Tuner - 2012-02-17 10:55

    What sort of man of God is this? Not only does he say God is biased, but he is notoriously so!

      Marcell - 2012-02-17 11:23

      Be careful of this man's preaching. According to him Dalai Lama is going to heaven and his reason is because DL is a nice man.

  • Maximumstress - 2012-02-17 11:35

    I wish the Bishop will stick to his publicly announced decision to retire from public life and shut the hell up!

  • SarelJBotha - 2012-02-17 11:42

    Tutu, you are wrong. We are not all family, never have been and never will be. What we can do is face reality and live as neighbours in a acceptable way. Sadly this is ignored by you and political parties in general, thus leading us nowhere.

      Silver - 2012-02-17 12:51

      Absolutely Sarel. Can’t agree with you more. This whole “we are the same” thing is rubbish. We don’t do things the same, out culture is not the same, we don’t think the same, we don’t believe in the same things, there is a big difference in morals and values . Big difference in work ethics, expectations on outcomes and so on. We are just not the same in so many respects it’s not even funny. The only thing we can all claim is that we are part of the same human race but even there we have genetic differences and origins.

  • Andrew - 2012-02-17 11:51

    To all intents and purposes we are being told South Africa is the only country in the world where we have very wealthy people and those that live in abject poverty. Not so, I have travelled to many parts of this world where this situation also exists, even in continental Europe. In many Asian countries extremes of wealth and poverty are just as dire. In North and South America this difference in wealth is also prevalent and yet here in South Africa only the whites are targetted as outcasts whole stole from the majority blacks just because of past history. Look at the rest of Africa where so called freedom has existed for generations and then tell all and sundry it is the fault of whites that these extremes still are prevalent today. Hand outs are given where they are needed but to continually expect this is not going to happen. Politicians must stop blaming the happenings of the past and plan for the future not just raid the countries coffers to enrich themselves and their cadres.

      stefaans.blaauw - 2012-05-02 10:45

      OOOHHH Andrew, and do they hate to hear that??? They are actually waiting for some comments like...Dont worry we know we are the same, and we will donate more money from the white European countries to say were sorry for apartheid. Africe is artificially kept alive bu donations from the Western (WHITE) world, or do they also get donations from Brazil, India, Haiti, cuba. Work for what you want in Africa, stop begging, and stop blaming The whiteman for your inabilities.

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