Strive Masiyiwa has delivered the 9th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture.
Speaking in Cape Town’s City Hall, on Archbishop Tutu’s 88th birthday, the Zimbabwean businessman and philanthropist addressed the vexed question of corruption – globally and locally – and measures to restore citizen trust.
Masiyiwa said corruption was neither inevitable nor unstoppable, although that is what the corrupt wanted people to believe. They also wanted people to believe that corruption was a secret. Although many people were in fact aware of corruption, there wasn’t enough of a culture of indignation to stop it.
Corruption was a global, not an African phenomenon. “Corruption is corruption, and make no mistake, both the giver and receiver are corrupt,” he said.
It was critical to turn around the widely held perception among young people in Africa that the business community was devoid of integrity. Young people on other continents were not similarly negatively predisposed.
Africa needed an entrepreneurial revolution. We must start building businesses, he said. By not doing so, everything that Africans had fought and hoped for was placed on the line.
Earlier, CEO of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Piyushi Kotecha, said the annual lecture created opportunities for diverse thought-leaders to respond to the deepest human and planetary conundrums of our time, against the backdrop of the values and wisdom of the Archbishop and Mrs Tutu.
She acknowledged all who had worked with the Archbishop and contributed to securing and perpetuating his legacy. These were the people and institutions on whose shoulders the Archbishop often acknowledged standing, and on whose shoulders the foundation stood today.
Foundation chairman Niclas Kjellstrom-Matseke said people around the world had recognised the Arch and Mrs Tutu as representing a particular set of values uniquely revealed through God, gentle love and courageous activism.
While the Archbishop had retired from public life, the issues he confronted had not retired with him. “They live on in homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, gender-based violence, in Palestine and Kashmir, in the rising tide of climate apartheid which will see the poor, once again, paying for the excesses of the rich…” Kjellstrom-Matseke said.
The evening concluded with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba reflecting on the lessons contained in Masiyiwa’s lecture, and the orchestra leading guests in the singing of Happy Birthday to both Arch and Mrs Tutu, who celebrates her birthday next week.
Photograph: Sumaya Hisham