I grabbed my seat at around 4:45pm, the Mr. Desmund Tutu, as he is now called since his retirement, was set to arrive at 6pm. By 5:30pm the Union was packed and bustling. Then at 6:05pm he walked in.
He is a very cute old man, and there was so much joy and purity in him that his warmth filled the room. He started off by saying that Semester At Sea was like home to him as he has sailed with the program before. His used Adam and Eve as a story to lead into his main points.
The following is a summary of Archbishop Desmund Tutu’s 30 minute or so speech:
Adam and Eve is a simple story, but it shows a fundamental truth about humans. Humans cannot be in isolation, we were not made to be alone, we were made to make connections, to interact with one another. Isolation is sub-human, for “I have gifts that you don’t have and you have gifts that I don’t have.” It is a delicate network of inter-dependence, which is the fundamental law of being. We need each other. We are one big human family, and there is only one race, the human race. We are all brothers and sisters. Then he threw in a joke that he saw only Black Africans in the room, just ones who got lighter as they got further away from the sun, because Africa is the birthplace of humankind. God made us different so that we could really know that we really need each other. Then he made a joke about how women are often viewed as 2nd rate, when in reality it the men, because he said “When Eve asked God about why she was placed on Earth with such a frustrating being as Adam, God replied by saying “shhh…it’s a secret between us girls.” He was not saying God was a female, in fact he referred to God as he/she.
He ended his speech by advocating youth and by reminding us that the world’s multiple problems can be fixed by us. He pointed at us and said “You are AWESOME! And fantastic!” He wants us to make the world a more caring, gentle and compassionate place where governments don’t spend millions on useless harmful machinery and instead spend it on helping the world’s real needs. He ended by saying: “Dream God’s dream, be as idealistic as you could be. Go for it. God has no one except youth.”
It was very inspiring and very entertaining. He captivated everyone with his humor, passion, joy and humility. It was such an honor to be in his presence and to be able to hear his words of wisdom. I feel like he is the Dalai Lama of the African Continent. After his speech there was some time left, and before I knew I was up along with everyone else storming this poor old man. Everyone wanted a photo, an autograph and many went to buy his book in Cape Town and wanted him to sign it. I waited and waited, and soon Mr. Tutu had his back to me so I could not get a picture but I ended up in many people’s pictures. However I kindly whispered in his ear if I could get a photo and handed my camera to someone in front of him, he then leaned on my and smiled! The photo turned out bad, but I like it because the archbishop is under a bright light and it makes him look holy and it will remind me of the chaos in that moment.
I took a video of most of the speech and I hope to get it on to Youtube as soon as I can, and share it with everyone.
His speech was definitely a great way to end 6 amazing days in the Rainbow Nation. A country that I don’t mind going back to for a 3rd time as there are still so many thing to see and do there!
Remember that no matter who you are, YOU ARE AWESOME!