VUT AND DEPT OF SPORT, ARTS AND CULTURE HOST ARCHBISHOP TUTU MEMORIAL LECTURE
By: Nontobeko Moimane 1 March 2022
Delivering his keynote address: Honourable Nathi Mthethwa- Minister for the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture
On 22 February 2022, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) in partnership with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture hosted a memorial lecture in honour of the late Dr Bishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu. The hybrid event took place in the Desmond Tutu Great Hall and was also streamed live to comply with applicable Covid-19 health and safety regulations.
The purpose of the event was to commemorate the life and contributions of Archbishop Tutu to society, both locally and abroad.
The programme was co-directed by Mr Joseph Radebe (VUT’s Acting Director: Community Engagement) and Ms. Vinolia Mabele (Miss UN International 2019). Both are Social Cohesion advocates.
The event was attended by a number of dignitaries, including:
· Minister Nathi Mthethwa: National Department of Sport, Arts, and Culture (main sponsor and keynote speaker)
· Tutu family representatives: Ms Nombali Sithole (niece) Ms Gloriah Radebe (sister) and Thandeka Tutu (daughter).
· Prof Ntate Dan Kgwadi: Vice-Chancellor and Principal, VUT
· Right Reverend Mpho Moerane: The First Apostolic Church of St John
· Prof Maggie Linington– DVC: Teaching, Learning and Student Support Services, VUT
· Ms. Sizakele Shongwe: Chief Director: Social Cohesion in the Department of Sports, Arts, and Culture
· Mr. Vincent Jones: MMC- Emfuleni Local Municipality
· Cllr Lerato Maloka– Executive Mayor: Sedibeng District Municipality
· Members of the Vaal Community
· The clergy
· VUT management
The Right Reverend Mpho Moerane opened the session with a prayer. He stated that the late Archbishop was an Old Testament scholar who did his ministry focusing on the Old Testament. He described Dr. Tutu as a person who was not in favour of conflict and always reminded leaders to treat other people with respect and appreciation.
The first part of the ceremony was a Candlelight Ceremony which was led by Rev Moerane and the Tutu Family.
VUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal: Professor Dan Kgwadi
Delivering a welcoming address, Professor Kgwadi also said Archbishop Tutu didn’t like leaders who misrepresented the constituencies they represented. He cautioned the VUT community to respect the Tutu name.
“Now that we are associated with this great name we need to maintain its proper shape. We cannot afford to compromise Bishop Emeritus Tutu’s name by associating it with embarrassment,” said Prof Kgwadi.
Tutu family representatives: Ms Nombali Sithole (niece) and Thandeka Tutu (daughter)
Tutu family representative: Ms Gloriah Radebe (sister)
Ms. Sizakele Shongwe explained why the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture had agreed to partner with VUT on this important project. Too much applause from the audience, she promised that the Desmond Tutu Memorial Lecture would be an annual event.
Keynote Speaker, Honourable Nathi Mthethwa said the Archbishop was a warrior of peace and reconciliation. “The Arch believed that faith without work is dead,” said the Minister.
He further described Dr Tutu as a” builder, a person who chose the side of the oppressed than that of the oppressor. His voice was non-violent, and he lived his life.”
Confirming that his department would continue to sponsor the Memorial Lecture on annually, Minister Mthethwa said the country needs to be committed to building a just and peaceful society. He further mentioned that Archbishop believed that the community needs to heal from the divisions of the past and learn to reconcile.
The audience was entertained by various performances from the VUT Choir, Lebo the Saxophonist, and Jabulile Mthimkhulu.