“I am a leader by default, only because nature does not allow a vacuum.”
The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation
The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation was established in Cape Town in 2013. It is a centre of knowledge and discourse, a repository for intellectual property, and a platform to reconnect people to each other and to their own integrity.
The Foundation is a physical space for exhibitions, programmes and events, and an intellectual space for the development of human consciousness about the critical issues affecting the earth and its inhabitants.
Strive Masiyiwa, the Zimbabwean-born philanthropist and technepreneur, will address the 9th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture in Cape Town City Hall on the archbishop’s 88th birthday, 7 October 2019. He will address the topic: Tackling corruption in the public and private sectors – Restoring citizen trust, locally and globally.…
The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation (DLTLF) has appointed a powerful duo to lead the next stage of its growth and development. Chairman Niclas Kjellström-Matseke and CEO Piyushi Kotecha harness a set of diverse and complementary skills in leadership, governance, sustainability and organisational development. The Tutu and Matseke families have a…
30 years ago…
“WE MARCHED IN CAPE TOWN, AND THE BERLIN WALL FELL”
Thirty years ago, today, Archbishop Desmond Tutu led a massive march for peace through the streets of Cape Town that became a tipping point in the anti-apartheid struggle.
The night before the event, although its permission had not been sought, the government made an unprecedented announcement. It would “allow” the march. “The door to a new South Africa is open,” then-Acting State President FW De Klerk said. “It is not necessary to batter it down.”
About 30 000 people pitched up outside St George’s Cathedral. Led by Tutu, Reverend Allan Boesak, leaders of the inter-faith movement and the United Democratic Front, and the Mayor of Cape Town, Gordon Oliver, the gathering went off without a hitch. Even the police seemed friendly.
The march capped a week of intense drama, which began on 6 September, the day South Africa held its last race-based election. The country was a cauldron. The anti-apartheid movement had identified the election as a focal point of struggle. A State of Emergency gave police unprecedented powers, which they used with impunity on election day.
A distraught Archbishop Tutu learned that the violence had claimed the lives of at least 20 anti-apartheid protestors in Cape Town, alone. That night, in his prayers, he remonstrated with God over the unfairness of the brutality.
It came to him that the most appropriate response was to call people together to march for peace. “It wasn’t as if God told me directly, ‘Hey, you must march’. But I had a strong feeling it was the right thing to do,” the Archbishop said later. “Some of my colleagues in the anti-apartheid structures weren’t impressed. They said it was not a very democratic decision. But I asked them: ‘How does one argue with God?’”
In the days leading up to the march, organisers lobbied foreign diplomats, multinational companies and opposition members of parliament for support.
Behind the scenes, the government scratched its head for a response. It attempted, through an emissary, to save face by asking the march organisers to apply for permission. But the approach was rebuffed. The march would proceed, with or without permission.
The following month, the government began releasing political prisoners, and the country took its first tentative steps down the road to democracy. And a month after that, the Berlin Wall fell.
“We marched in Cape Town, and the Berlin Wall fell,” the Arch said later.