As I write, there is only one day before we go into 2022. Whew! What a year 2021 has been!
January 1 2022 is another mark in time unlimited. Not only is it a time to look back at 2021 and what we have achieved individually and as a nation, it is also the day Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be interred in his homeland South Africa after succumbing to cancer on Boxing Day.
Africa and the world will remember the first black archbishop of the Anglican Church in Africa as a gallant fighter against apartheid. He was one of the prominent faces in the fight against the oppressive system that left the majority blacks at the mercy of the minority whites.
For that matter, Tutu’s efforts for world peace in Tibet, Palestine and even Iraq are well documented.
He also headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, apart from being a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
It is humbling to see the simple coffin for the great man as his body lay in state. As his first-born daughter put it, it was his wish to be buried in the simplest of ways.
The truth is that there is no neutrality in the fight against oppression. Typical of a deep African wisdom, he put it that where an elephant steps on a mouse and you proclaim neutrality, the mouse will doubt your neutrality.
Having worked with the African National Congress (ANC) in the fight against apartheid, one would think like many do when power is assumed. Not with Tutu. He chided the ANC leadership when it went wayward. He went to the extent of putting it crudely that he and others would continue to pray against a leadership that disrespects its people.
We all know how far he was vindicated when the Jacob Zuma rule crumbled after the unveiling of the State capture propelled by the Gupta brothers.
Which religious leaders will pluck a leaf from Tutu’s book in the fight against the thieving to colossal levels by those in power?
In fact, getting the prestigious Peace Prize in 1984, one would think that should have been the climax of his work. Not, at all. It was a means to an end, not the end.
If there is one thing that I, for one, will remember Tutu for, it is his stance against homophobia. At one point he said he did not believe there is a place for homophobic people in heaven. It must have been a real hard stand to take when his other daughter Mpho openly declared she was getting married to a fellow woman.
In some cases, you could have seen Tutu condemning, and even disowning, his daughter to protect his own social standing. But no, he took a route that understanding bodily autonomy are important that it is a right, not privilege for one to do as they will with their bodies.
As the world celebrates this simple but gigantic icon, we stand in awe to understand that all you needed to do to get the Nobel Peace Prize is to ‘have a short name like Tutu, a big nose and sexy legs’. Was that just a joke or the cryptic side of the man whose fight against social, economic and political rights remains admirable?
Hamba kahle, yes go well The Arch. Here was a Tutu, when comes another?
We go into the New Year with gloom on our faces. The rain clouds have not gathered. We have sought the rain god but it is nowhere to be found.
Should we go to Khuluvi? Should we go to Nsinja? Has Bimbi deserted us this far?