THREE Clare activists will be among the speakers for an online event honouring South African humanitarian and anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Irish peace and human rights organisation, Afri are organising the event which will be held online on Thursday (December 30th) from 8pm to 9pm to celebrate Tutu’s life.
Lahinch author and activist Ruairí McKiernan, South African activist and Knockalisheen Direct Provision centre resident Bulelani Mfaco, and Bellharbour poet and activist Sarah Clancy are among those involved in the event.
Archbishop Tutu was the patron of Afri for almost thirty years, after it hosted his first visit to Ireland 1984. Since then, Afri hosted the revered human rights leader several times, including in 1991 when he led the annual Afri famine walk in Doolough, Co Mayo. Afri helped lead the Irish campaign against apartheid and arranged for the Dunnes Stores strikers, who refused to handle South African fruit, to meet Tutu in London while on his way to collect the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. This meeting famously helped internationalise the campaign against apartheid, and the Irish campaign was later recognised by Nelson Mandela and others.
Ruairí said the event will be an important moment of reflection for one of the true great giants for peace and justice in the world. “At a time when we need more hope in the world, we need to look no further than the life of Desmond Tutu. He experienced the worst of humanity in apartheid South Africa, but despite everything, he persisted and led with courage, conviction, and joy. I remember hearing him speak in Galway in 2009, and he radiated an inner strength that I will never forget.
He was someone I looked up to, someone who wasn’t afraid to stand up for the people in Rossport, County Mayo when they were being beaten and abused for standing up to Shell. He stood up for the rights of the LGBT community and the Palestinian people. He campaigned on climate change, militarisation, and for a waiver on vaccine patents, something the Irish government has shamefully opposed. I think his legacy and his spirit will live on, and it is important that we gather to remember this great human and his unrelenting message that change is always possible when we are brave enough to act”.
Registration for the Celebration of the Life of Desmond Tutu event is free and information can be founded on Eventbrite.ie or at www.afri.ie