‘Tutu realised that good education is a powerful tool for dignity, equality’

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The United Nations’ (UN) Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, says the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu had realised early in his life that good education is a powerful tool for dignity and equality.

Mohammed delivered the 12th annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture in Cape Town on Friday night.

She says Tutu’s beliefs and vision coincide with the UN Agenda 2063 for human development in Africa.

The annual Peace Lectures are in pursuit of healing against the vulnerabilities of humanity, including human rights and planet abuses, and what the speakers say is the weaponising of resources against humanity.

The theme for this year’s Lecture is  “A Vision for Hope , and Healing.”

Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture October 8, 2022:

Mohammed says it was Tutu who in 1957 resigned from his job as a teacher because of the instrumentalised education for the oppression of black students.

“Inclusive and good quality education is a foundation for a dynamic and inequitable society. But today disparity in access to education, or quality education is one of the great challenges facing our world. Instead of being a great equaliser, education is fast becoming a divider, separating poor children from opportunities. Almost from birth, some seven in 10 children in poor countries are unable to read basic text and by the age of 10 because they are either out of school or in school but barely learning.”

Mohammed says the world is in deep crisis, especially in Africa,  but there is hope.

“We must change the narrative. We are not hopeless nor are we helpless our potentials are enormous. We are 1.4 billion people and 2.5 trillion dollar market opportunity and the fasted growing connecting people, especially our women to financial services, we have the institutions, the United Nations the Union of the African development and we have 25 stock exchanges.”

Challenges of our time

Tutu’s friend of 20 years and co-author of his books together with the Dalai Lama, Doug Abrams says the Arch would have called for humanity not to despair despite the challenges.

“If we are to have the courage and confidence to meet the challenges of our time we must remember that we’ve faced great danger before. We’ve defeated colonialism, Nazism, apartheid, and threat of nuclear war, to name just a few, and will defeat them as these threats are returning. We must acknowledge that South Africa and the world are suffering. We are suffering, I can hear the arch’s acceptance of the pain we feel.”

The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation was founded in 2013 with the aim among others to grow powerful voices of moral courage on most of the pressing issues of our time.

Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis recommitted the city to work harder to improve society as the Arch would have liked.