Thursday, September 07, 2006


Africa needs ubuntu

The first time The Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was thrust into my life was in the mid-eighties, at a hectic time in South Africa's political slide to change. But I regretted not being old enough then, to have done more in his name.

Recently there has been a lot of negative attention directed South Africa's HIV policies. Men like the Arch understand the urgency of the continents situation, which is why he has given his name to add weight to organisations that aim at making a dent in the statistics. And I am sure that being party of some of the top research material available, he would have a few matters to comment on.

But most importantly, as he said at the recent Harold Wolpe Memorial Lecture, "At the least we should forego the luxury of sterile academic debates in the pejorative sense about what does or does not cause AIDS and have a coherent campaign to combat a devastating pandemic. It is galling that we should be fiddling whilst our Rome is burning and it is distressing that we can be pilloried and lambasted as we were in the recent Toronto AIDS conference. Our country does not deserve it and we owe it to our people especially those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS."

We seem to have lost the patience to sit quietly and listen to what the elders have to say. Times have changed, but whose the wiser now?

Tutu, and Mandela, these are men who have stood up for what they believed in all their lives, and when it has been achieved, or the distance to their goal shortened by what they have done, they haven't claimed it as theirs, or basked in the glory, but added weight to other important issues.

I've mentioned before, with great chest-beating pride, how awesome it was to give time to work on the first 46664 concert in Cape Town. Lenny and I would do anything for Madiba, and Desmond Tutu needs help now too.

HIV Aids organisations and charities like the TAC, Nazareth House, and Thembalanatwana, and the many others, big and small, need support. The people need help, they need the right nutrition, and most importantly, they need the right medication!

The Arch has given his name to the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, established in 2004, that is focused on not only the treatment of HIV, but prevention of HIV & TB, and includes educating health care professionals, community workers and the man on the street.

It's in the spirit of ubuntu to our fellow man that we should stop, listen and then take action. It's amazing that R500 per month can save someone's life, while even R50 can make a difference too. Here President Nelson Mandela explains what ubuntu means for German TV.

Ubuntu is just another way of showing you care.

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