Pulse Media


Desmond Tutu on South Africa's unfinished struggle


"We must take seriously the cry of those who say in the past we were not white enough, today we are not black enough – even if they are wrong. We must take seriously their perception and try to change it.

"Many a truth is uttered in jest"

"So, let us hear the cry of those who complain about a Nguni-ocracy and even of a Xhosa-ocracy. Many a truth is uttered in jest.

Steve Biko, who was murdered whilst in detention in 1977, had an "all-consuming passion to strive for the liberation of his people". He strongly believed that, by internalising a negative self-image, black people collaborated in their own oppression. The Black Consciousness movement was meant to "exorcise this demon".

Black consciousness is not finished – Tutu

In his address, Tutu stressed that the work of black consciousness is not finished – we still do not respect ourselves and each other. "Fundamentally we do not respect one another…the fact of the matter is that we still, depressingly, do not respect one another."

Tutu went on to point out the moral degeneration of South African society and the disregard for the value of life inherent in "horrendous" acts of rape and murder. "Perhaps we did not realise just how much apartheid damaged us, so that we seem to have lost our sense of right and wrong."