December 28, 2021

by John Carter

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is dead. He was 90 years of age. The world is a lesser place.
During the dark days of White Supremacy in South Africa, the soft-spoken leader of the Anglican Church in Cape Town was a quiet but impassioned voice for freedom.
I refused to conduct public evangelistic meetings in South Africa during the Apartheid regime because I was told the meetings would be segregated. This was more than I could stomach.  Later when there was regime change I went and spoke to multi-racial audiences in Johannesburg and elsewhere. My hosts were what the locals called Coloreds who told me of the bad old days when it was a crime for them ( and Desmond Tutu ) to enter a restaurant reserved for people with my complexion.  Such a society was innately wrong and sinful, appealing to the likes and dislikes of self-righteous bigots, the disciples of John Calvin.
Archbishop Tutu was a powerful catalyst for change because he was an ardent advocate of UBUNTU, an African idea that says if I diminish you, I diminish myself. It is an African twist  on the saying of the quiet Galilean who taught, “ Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.”  Jesus whose culture and complexion were Middle Eastern practiced UBUNTU. If the truth be told, the good Archbishop and friends got it from Jesus. After all, Desmond Tutu was a thorough-going Christian who believed that love was greater than hatred and that peaceful nonviolence resistance was stronger than whips, boots, and bullets. As history shows, his side won. UBUNTU won. Nelson Mandela was released from solitary confinement in prison, incarceration that had lasted decades. Black people were allowed to vote and Nelson became president. The Archbishop kept doing what he had done all his life, practicing UBUNTU.
We would do well to follow his example. We live in a polarized world where lying, hatred, evil speaking, and revenge are too often the norm. Even professing Christians forget whom they serve. UBUNTU is the only way forward.
May the memory and work of the Archbishop live forever.
Long live UBUNTU.

– John Carter