30 years since Tutu's fight to end whites-only beaches in South Africa
As the holiday season begins to draw to a close thousands of us have happy memories of a summer spent on beaches all over the world.
Modern resorts are carefree places where mixing with friends old and new and often from a variety of interesting backgrounds and cultures is taken for granted.
But it wasn’t always like that, particularly in South Africa and it is worth reflecting on the fact that it is exactly 30 years since, thanks to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the country took its first steps towards ending whites-only beaches.
For it was Tutu who launched a vigorous campaign against this unjust and racist practise as part of escalating action against apartheid.
But fighting the apartheid regime and the battle for basic freedoms took great courage ad demonstrators in Cape Town found themselves in a stand-off with in authorities before the inevitable crack down by the police
Whips, tear gas and water cannons were turned on the crowd and more than 500 people, including 52 journalists, were arrested.
The police action was condemned by Tutu, who had won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, “All moral right is on our side,” he said. “We have committed ourselves to this struggle until it is won. We shall be free . . . despite this type of action from those who refuse to hand over power.”
He was right and more importantly the serious fight-back had begun with a Mass Democratic Movement mobilising on the streets