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Tutu peace lecture: strong political parties needed as 'storm' approaches

By: stagedoorscribbler - November 6, 2017

Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Photo by Hattie Miles

How gratifying for Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu to hear his philosophy of respect, social justice and achieving change through strong political thought and practice being praised and promoted at the 7th International Peace Lecture in Cape Town recently.

But worrying too that, years after the end of apartheid, the battle for equality and a decent civilised society continues. 

Those attending the event at which Tutu was an honoured guest were told “The storm is approaching and dark clouds are gathering very fast. Twenty three years after our first democratic elections, inequality has grown unemployment has also grown and so too has poverty" 

The speaker was world-renowned conflict management expert, Vasu Gounden who reminded his audience: “Our problems today are grave and compounding themselves each day. Let us not be mistaken they start with the legacy we inherited from apartheid, where the bulk of our nation’s resources were used to socially engineer skills, capital, and opportunity for a minority, and this has left us with huge distortions in our society.” 

He stressed the importance of having strong political parties and visionary leaders. Archbishop Tutu, who attended with his younger sister Gloria Redebe, would  have concurred when Gounden added that South Africa could have been left in a terrible state if the political tensions surrounding apartheid had remained unresolved.

His lecture titled  South Africa: Civil War or Civil Peace?  warned that weak political parties can pose a very real threat to the strength of democracy today. “We need leaders who are visionaries and have long-term plans, with the ability to bring a sense of urgency and discipline throughout our society,” he said.