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Launch And Opening Of The Truth To Power Exhibition

Launch and opening of the Truth to Power exhibition

On Thursday 24 March, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation (DLTLF) officially launched a new exhibit dedicated to the work and legacy of the late Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu. The exhibition, titled Truth to Power: Desmond Tutu And The Churches In The Struggle Against Apartheid, is now open to the public.

Speakers at the launch included Niclas Kjellström-Matseke, DLTLF Board Chairperson; Dr Mamphela Ramphele, Tutu IP Trust Board Chairperson; Honourable Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, City of Cape Town; Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and Chair of the South African Council of Churches and Honourable Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture.

Acting CEO Phumi Nhlapo announced that “this is indeed a proud day for us here at the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. I know I speak for all my colleagues when I say this. We are a small team that is capable of accomplishing big things. Today we celebrate the launch of the first permanent exhibition showcasing the life and work of a great son of the African soil and a global icon, Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu.

“Our Foundation was founded by the Arch and Mama Leah in 2013. Our mission as a foundation is to ensure that the uncompromised bravery and values of our founders are celebrated, communicated and curated for current and future generations to learn from and emulate.  This exhibition will be our main vehicle for doing this. It brings to life the Arch’s legacy and makes it accessible to everyone in the country and around the world,” she added.

Niclas Kjellstrom- Matseke congratulated the team on the launch of the exhibition. “As the chairperson of this distinguished DLTLF it is my duty and privilege to highlight the appreciation that we as a board feel for the partners enabling us to pull this exhibition together. In particular, I want to mention the important and great relationship that has evolved between our Foundation and the Apartheid Museum. We would (also) like to send our gratitude and appreciation to our sister organisation, the Tutu IP Trust.” He also thanked outgoing CEO Piyushi Kotecha, for her leadership.

At the launch, Dr Ramphele, paid tribute to the Arch’s legacy. “The Archbishop’s footprints traverse the planet. In a sense, memories of him are virtually uncontainable. There are important collections of his sermons, letters and speeches housed in various academic institutions, locally and internationally, the Legacy Foundation has gathered together and collated a large quantity of artefacts – but there are also many footprints that have never been gathered or recorded.

“As you engage this exhibition, this extraordinary body of work, my challenge to you is to see beyond the beautiful images and the warm, fuzzy feeling that being in the Arch’s presence naturally evokes to glimpse the heirloom contained within. For he was a human role-model.”

Archbishop Makgoba, echoed Dr Ramphele’s sentiments. He also congratulated the team that put the exhibition together. “Now, in the wake of the Arch’s death, we all face a transition. Whether we lived with him as family, whether we had frequent contact or little, we all lived under the shadow of his powerful presence in our lives. I had the privilege of previewing the exhibition and what it captures is part and parcel of keeping him and his ideals and values alive. It is now for us to work out, individually and collectively, how to give expression to the way in which he can live through us.”

The exhibition aims to ensure that the Arch’s legacy of courageous and ethical leadership and his unwavering values are accessible for young people and future generations on the African continent and globally to learn from and emulate. With the passing away of the Arch on 26 December 2021 at the age of 90, the symbolism and timing of this exhibition is all the more appropriate as it shows the powerful facets of his life and work vividly and will encourage all to take up the torch of justice in South Africa and elsewhere.

Mayor of Cape Town, Geordin Hill-Lewis, said it was an honour for the City of Cape Town to be involved in the project: “With this historic building which is so important to Cape Town’s history. I really love ironies of history. When this place was built it was built by slaves. Now here it is today the home of the legacy of this magnificent man, this great South African, this freedom fighter, this father to all of us.

“It is the Tutu Foundation, the IP Trust and this team who have made this a home. Cape Town is proud to play a part but we can do more. Just before I came here I met with our tourism team. I asked that team to please make sure, as soon as possible, that this exhibition is added into that marketing. I really hope that this becomes an essential visit for visitors to Cape Town, he added.

Honourable Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, said that Desmond Tutu remained, even in death, the standard bearer of the founding values of the post-apartheid society. He also acknowledged Tutu for speaking truth to power and that he was never afraid to criticise where he saw wrong doing, even if it stung.

The Minister added: “as we remember this iconic cleric and godfather of our anti-apartheid struggle, there can be no greater exponent of our human rights project than him. We remember vividly his impassioned calls to the state and to the broader South African society to show acts of kindness and love in respect of those living with HIV/AIDS. We remember his unapologetic stance on non-racialism and non-sexism.

“At the risk of pitting himself against the mostly conservative church hierarchy, we saw him standing resolute in his conviction that the rights of the LGBTQI+ community matter the same as other guaranteed rights in our Constitution. He dared to take a moral stance on a matter that had otherwise remained a taboo in the church broadly, and in the African church in particular – given the staying power and influence of culture, traditions and customs in the African church.”

The Truth to Power exhibition is officially open to the public for self-guided tours.

  • Open from 25 March 2022
  • The Old Granary Building (entrance at pedestrian walk on Longmarket Street)
  • Monday to Friday 9:30am – 3:30pm (Closed on Public Holidays)
  • R50 adults
  • R25 pensioners and students
  • Free for all under 12 years’ old

For more information visit our exhibitions page, contact 021 552 7524 or communications@tutu.org.za

Watch the Launch below.

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