Skip to main content

tv   Desmond Tutu Remembered  BBC News  January 2, 2022 9:30pm-10:01pm GMT

9:30 pm
government ministers say there's nothing in the current covid data to suggest more restrictions are required in england. fire engulfs the parliament building in south africa after its sprinkler system failed. and the kenyan anthropologist and conservationist richard leakey — renowned for his extensive fossil discoveries that shed light on human evolution — has died aged 77. now on bbc news, archbishop desmond tutu — who died in december aged 90 — was a hero of the anti—apartheid movement in south africa. the bbc�*s andrew harding reflects on his tumultuous life. singing it's impossible to tell south africa's story without him. singing continues in one of his last public appearances, desmond tutu sat in a wheelchair
9:31 pm
in st george's cathedral, cape town. you are the one who understood what it meant... too frail, at last, to take his usual place in the spotlight. but that warm, irreverent spirit was there to the end. and what a life it was. i want you to say, "our march to freedom..." our march to freedom... .."is unstoppable!" unstoppable! a life that helped to guide and shape a turbulent nation. this is god's world and he's in charge and, boy, it's going to be ok!
9:32 pm
but it's going to be ok after an exorbitant price has been paid unnecessarily. in all seriousness, does the white south african government think that black people are human? i will myself call for punitive economic sanctions, whatever the legal consequences may be for doing so. and when they saw that awful thing happen there, many of them said, "uh—uh. if these people can still do things like this, maybe they are not yet ready." # we walk hand in hand... #
9:33 pm
there we go! whoopee! the one thing that helps desmond tutu stand out and occupy this unique place in south african history is that he was there at every step of the way, through this country's torturous journey from apartheid to democracy and beyond, with that clear, moral, often angry, sometimes laughing voice. a man defined, above all, by his sense of hope. desmond tutu was born in 1931. he overcame childhood polio and tb. poverty denied him the chance to become a doctor. instead, he was drawn into the anglican church. south africa was now controlled by an increasingly strict system of racial apartheid, of racist laws designed to subjugate the black majority.
9:34 pm
by the 1970s, tutu was dean of the anglican church injohannesburg, and it was now that he took a step down the path that would come to define him, channelling the anger, the frustration of south africa's downtrodden. in a letter to the white apartheid prime minister, tutu warned that "a people made desperate by injustice and oppression will turn to desperate means." "i am frightened, dreadfully frightened," he wrote, "that we will soon reach a point of no return. i wish to god that i am wrong." basicallyjust saying to him that if the government doesn't show, by some dramatic, symbolic act, that they are taking seriously our anguish and our expression of it, that i had a nightmarish fear that we were going to have an explosion. and this was 1976, may.
9:35 pm
and he dismissed my letter contemptuously and, of course, something like a few weeks later, 16june happened, when violence, in fact, did erupt. the uprising that began among soweto high school students soon swept across the country. the fight against apartheid was now on the streets, seemingly unstoppable. and for many white south africans, desmond tutu quickly became a symbol of everything they feared. when i went to work for him, there were people who, sort of, in our circle of acquaintance or our family's acquaintance, who thought i was crazy. you know, he was the devil incarnate, literally. one of our family's friends, we learnt, said that i was going to work for the devil incarnate. because... 7
9:36 pm
because he was a terrorist. i mean, he was a fellow traveller. he fronted for the marxists. he was the embodiment of evil. he was... the hatred was just extraordinary, yeah. but tutu's true message was something else. the enemy, he made clear, was not white south africans but the system that denied so many people their humanity. we will not really be free until we are all free. and we want to share this country with you. it is our country, our country — all of us, black and white — and, for goodness�* sake — for goodness�* sake, let us hold hands together. almost by default, tutu was becoming a figurehead,
9:37 pm
marching with fellow priests to a notoriousjohannesburg police station to demand a prisoner's release. yes, i have a petition which i will read, which i seek to present to you. you can present it to me. i don't want to listen to it. i'll take it. thank you. challenging the apartheid government not as a mere politician, but as something much harder to contain. we pray for those who rule this land, who make its laws, and those who uphold... he wasn't bound by some ideology. he was driven by, if you like, what drove the old testament prophets — a passion forjustice, a belief that god cared most for the oppressed and the widow and the orphan and the foreigner — the people at the bottom end of the human pyramid. those were god's favourites.
9:38 pm
and it made him very powerful, of course, because he was up against an apartheid government that wrapped itself in the church and called the anc its "communist enemies" and tried to take the race issue out of it. and yet, here was this black anglican priest challenging them. exactly, exactly. he was able to hit the regime at one of their most vulnerable points. they claim to be the bastion of western christian morality, if you like, on the southern tip of africa. they claim to be the last defence in africa against communism. whereas desmond could point out to them, "if you claim to be christian, then how can you possibly treat my people like this?" desmond tutu's status was enhanced
9:39 pm
by the fact that the anc was banned, nelson mandela was in prison, potential leaders were either in exile or in the underground or dead. and so, this apolitical priest emerged as the public face, the voice of the struggle for freedom. i think desmond tutu was the voice. i think i would rather say the voice of the people when the liberation movements were banned or restricted and some of us went in and out of prison. he was the voice of the people and he represented the views of the people and their feelings on the ground. as the struggle became ever more violent, tutu often positioned himself between black protesters and white security forces, trying to find a way to avoid bloodshed.
9:40 pm
but, increasingly, tutu also found himself mediating between rival black groups. in the townships, anger and desperation were growing. and the search for traitors, for people spying for the apartheid security forces, was turning murderous. suspects were killed on the spot, sometimes with a so—called necklace — a burning tyre placed over them. famously, tutu plunged into a crowd to save one suspect from the mob. for those young people, it was almost like "make an example of this guy, because we have got lots of these spies amongst us who should be stopped from spying on us, and we die because of them." so there would have been justification in their minds.
9:41 pm
and desmond wading into the crowd — again, you know, this little man, small in stature, but incredibly powerful morally and spiritually, essentially putting himself over the body of that person, saying, "i'm not going to let this happen." and that kind of courage silenced the mob. tutu was not afraid to confront and condemn his fellow black south africans. and the world is filled with people who support us, people who want us to be free, people who are struggling on our behalf in other countries. and when they saw that awful thing happen there, many of them said, "uh—uh. if these people can still do things like this, maybe they are not yet ready for freedom."
9:42 pm
but if we use methods such as the ones that we saw, then, my friends, i am going to collect my family and to leave a country that i love very deeply. in 1984, tutu's role in south africa was recognised internationally with a nobel peace prize. the prize brought him not only fame, but a degree of protection inside south africa that many other anti—apartheid activists could only dream of. we took him seriously because he was an influential person. that is why the government did not touch him. he was free to travel all over the world, he was free to address meetings and so on because, you know, if he did not do that, the furore in the world would have been tremendous. and tutu did travel the world,
9:43 pm
rallying and shaming governments in the west to confront the truth about what was happening in south africa. the cold war was still active. the apartheid government had carefully positioned itself as a useful western ally against the spread of communism in africa, but tutu challenged that, playing an crucial role in persuading western nations to back economic sanctions against the apartheid regime. i give notice that if in 18 to 2a months from today, february 3, apartheid has not been dismantled or is not being actively dismantled, then for the first time, i will myself call for punitive economic sanctions. he was key, there is no doubt about it. he came at the right time and he was very critical in terms of campaigning for sanctions. he was scathing of the blindness
9:44 pm
of people who, for economic- and ideological reasons and political reasons, l i had a stake in preserving white i dominance and the south african military dominance and all the rest l of it at the southern tip of africa. i his opinion of ronald reagan was... he came out having met - with reagan and was scathing. the system of this country is evil! he said, of apartheid, i very clearly, "it is evil. it is evil without remainder. "there is no redeeming feature about it." - it stands with nazism in - its complete lack of respect for the value of what he called "god's little people". -
9:45 pm
and that made it very awkward to britain, to america, to countries that were trying to find a negotiated path through this. yeah. i think, again, the strength- of desmond's leadership and his role was to be so clear—cut, _ to be so clear about what was right and what was wrong - and not to allow himself to be sucked into the ifs and the buts and the compromises. - by now, tutu was archbishop of cape town. the most senior anglican cleric in southern africa. apartheid rules meant that, technically, as a black man, he couldn't live in the archbishop's official residence.
9:46 pm
he ignored that law and many other laws. indeed, tutu had begun hinting at the possibility of backing the anc�*s armed struggle. but south africa was already changing. secret talks had begun between the government and the outlawed anc. some black politicians now bristled at the way tutu behaved, the way he'd organise a march without consulting them. i want you to say, "our march to freedom..." crowd: our march to freedom! desmond tutu called for a march and we were outraged. _ "what mandate does this man have?" so we took ourselvesj off to bishop's court, and to his credit, _ we literally rang the bell and said
9:47 pm
"it's us, we want to see him," and he let us in. i i i discovered afterwards it was also. monday, where he goes into retreat, he is deeply spiritual. after sunday, he actually goes into retreat. - but he let us in and so i said to him, "excuse me, just- what mandate do you have to call marches, to call a march? " and he just, he looked at me completely horrified and he looked at me completely horrified | but straight in the eye, | and said to me, "i have a mandate from god." what do you say? and then, abruptly, everything changed. the cold war was over and the apartheid government agreed to release nelson mandela from prison. that the government has taken a firm decision to release mr mandela unconditionally. what we are seeing is indescribable. we thank god that he has heard our prayers and our leader has come out, will come out tomorrow.
9:48 pm
hallelujah. hallelujah! this was tutu's reaction, captured by an american television network. there's mr mandela. mr nelson mandela, a free man. the rest of the journey to full democracy was not smooth. thousands died in the next few years. south africa teetered on the edge of civil war. but in 1994, president mandela was sworn in and archbishop tutu began a new role. we are charged to unearth the truth about our dark past, to lay the ghost of that past so that they will not return to haunt us and that we will thereby contribute to the healing
9:49 pm
of a traumatised and wounded people. the truth and reconciliation commission opened south africa's rawest wounds, inviting apartheid's victims to tell their stories and its perpetrators to beg forgiveness. in other hands, the process could have collapsed. but tutu, often in tears, was once again channelling the mood of the nation. crying terribly. it was almost as if he carried the whole country on his shoulders. and the way that he, you know, in his very characteristic manner, you know, this... small as he is, because he is a short person, but small as he is, his shoulders and his hands
9:50 pm
and his spirit and his presence, you know? he would walk into that room in that robe of his — you could feel the sense of hope. there was no question about it. it was in the air, it was everywhere. and for that reason, you know, his presence was highly critical for the trc. after one term as president, nelson mandela stepped down. his old home in soweto turned into a museum. desmond tutu's house is a few doors down. two nobel prize winners on the same street. but there was no easing into a quiet retirement for desmond tutu, mostly perhaps because it just wasn't his style, but also because there was still so much to do, so much to say and, increasingly, so much going wrong in the new south africa. there was the scourge of hiv, mishandled for so many years, and then there was corruption flourishing spectacularly
9:51 pm
during the presidency ofjacob zuma. tutu, as usual, spoke without caution and from the heart. i am warning you. i am warning you that we will pray as we prayed for the downfall of the apartheid government, we will pray for the downfall of a government that misrepresents us. but the anc largely shrugged. south africa's turbulent priest had become an irritant, a voice to be ignored. tutu was still lauded abroad. desmond tutu continues to give voice
9:52 pm
to the voiceless and bring hope to those who thirst for freedom. cherished by royalty and by rock stars. # i still haven't found what i'm looking for... # but at 80 years old, you are more punk rock than anyone i know. - but his days as a central figure in south africa's drama were over. so how will he be remembered? as a man of fierce moral clarity, of courage, of prayer and laughter. but, perhaps, above all, as a man of hope. how many times, at the very darkest moments, you would hear this little diminutive bishop stand up and say to the regime, "why don't you join the winning side
9:53 pm
before it's too late?" and people would laugh, but they would also know that he was telling the truth. because he was so utterly convinced that ultimately justice would prevail. # justice shall prevail # someday... # hello. time to have a look at the weather for the week ahead. here is
9:54 pm
the headline for the week ahead. it is going to be turning colder, at least compared to what we have got right now. on monday, we still see that current of warm air from the southern climes. it has engulfed much of europe, but if you get scotland later in the day, that cold air loses in from the north, that quarter arctic air stub in the morning, on monday, it is going to be mild across many parts of the country, particular chris england, wales and northern ireland. in the north of scotland, it is barely above freezing. that is the colder air setting and you can see the cold front moving across scotland, delivering some snow to the mountains and hills, rain for most of us. northerly wind here, ahead of it, we have that west — south—westerly. a few showers around, but also some decent sunny spells. another mild day for many of us across england and wales and northern ireland, and even early in
9:55 pm
the day, the temperatures will be around nine in glasgow, dropping through the course of the afternoon. it is gonna be a slow process. this weather front is going to be migrating southwards through the course of monday. behind it we have got that colder air, and it does locally cold, doesn't it? it's not a chilly go to be desperately cold. early on tuesday morning, temperatures around —1, so this is the following night, in the south, around 7 degrees first thing. here's the weather map for tuesday, and a low pressure close to norway sending stronger his neck in our direction. certainly cold enough for some wintry showers to blow across scotland. further south, a little bit of cloud, but on the holy decent enough days. bang on average. a fraction below average abnormal temperatures for lasco in under bro,
9:56 pm
around five —— around in normal degrees for glasgow and edinburgh. we are in between weather systems. a nippy wind on that north sea coast, 5 degrees in newcastle, seven in norwich, but overall for many of us, a pretty decent day on the way for wednesday. very different compared to thursday, because on thursday we will see a weather front sweeping across the atlantic, stronger winds as well, so i think for many of us, cloudy, outbreaks of rain. temperatures, this is pretty much the average for the time of the year. let's have a look at the end of the week, and this is pretty representative of the weekend as well. large area blood pressure across the atlantic. you can see the isobars pointing from west to east. that means that is where the winds are coming from, where our weather will be coming from. feeling pretty cold because of the strength of the wind. a chance of some wintry showers blowing in as well. here is just a summary of what we have had
9:57 pm
and what is ahead. temperatures above average, and the net gentle decline into about average for the time of the year, and then the weather will vary quite a bit over the next few days. so a change on the way.
9:58 pm
9:59 pm
10:00 pm
secondary school pupils in england are being asked to wear facemasks in classrooms to reduce the spread of omicron. the government says it is temporary guidance, to keep as many pupils as possible in school. unions have welcomed the move. if that's going to do what we all want and keep young people in their school or in their college then that will, i think, be a price worth paying. warnings of a worst—case scenario of a quarter of staff in the public sector being off work because of covid. but the government says there's still nothing in the data to warrant further restrictions in england. also in the programme tonight: fire engulfs the parliament building in south africa — a man is arrested on suspicion of arson. how was your previous session? with growing demands
10:01 pm
on our health service, could robots in our hospitals be part of the solution?


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on