The Purple Shall Govern

Picture from the Exhibition

 

Friends,

There is a hidden treasure right on our doorstep and yet many do not know of it. This treasure is as inspiring as it is challenging. I am referring to the exhibition entitled: Truth to Power by the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. You will find it at The Old Granary Building – two blocks down from the District Six Museum on Buitenkant Street. The Old Granary itself is an artform to behold – and no less so since it has been transformed to house the Tutu Peace Centre.

“The Truth to Power exhibition is a comprehensive showcase of the life and legacy of the late Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu. It aims to foster the values of Desmond and Leah Tutu among the youth, and to inspire a new generation of leaders who will build peace and justice in South Africa and the world.

The exhibition is divided into six themes which chart Tutu’s life within the context of the painful history of South Africa under Apartheid, where the Archbishop remains the gold thread of hope, outspokenness, faith and healing. It includes his ongoing activism in the democratic South Africa and sets the challenge to all of us to take on his baton of courageous leadership and unwavering values.”

The Six Themes of the Exhibition

Theme 1.               Apartheid Education: The Most Evil Act of All.
Theme 2.               The Struggle in the Church: Fighting a False Gospel.
Theme 3.               Faith in Action: The Campaign for Sanctions.
Theme 4.               Protest and Peace Making: In the Streets and Stadiums.
Theme 5.               Unfinished Business: Tutu, Truth and Reconciliation.
Theme 6.               TU + TU = Freedom.

The Purple Shall Govern

Included in the exhibition is a photo-reminder of the Apartheid police spraying protesters with a water canon of purple dye –
effectively tagging all protesters present (as well spraying the Central Methodist Mission on 2 September 1989). This gave rise to the ingenious graffiti “The Purple Shall Govern”.

I highly recommend taking the time to visit this exhibition. It is not only an important reminder of our recent history, but a beautiful witness of a good and faithful life. Both this important reminder and beautiful witness invite us to surrender our lives into the service of justice and mercy.

With grace,
Alan

Towering Tutu’s Foundation

Friends,

In the last week more than one person has described Archbishop Desmond Tutu as a “towering” human being. Towering in integrity, courage, wisdom and mercy. Tall towers are dependent on deep foundations to keep standing. This was equally true for Tutu. His public life of prophetic action and courage was under-pinned by his private life of prayer and contemplation. His life was one of daily discipline. May his example inspire us to shape our own days with greater deliberateness to nurture our inner life so that our outer life may stretch to new heights of integrity, courage, wisdom and mercy. Here is a summary of Tutu’s daily practice:

04:00 – Personal prayers (weekdays)

05:00 – Fast 30 minute walk or slow jog

05:30 – Shower

06:00 – Devotional reading / reflection

07:30 – Recite formal Morning Prayer in chapel

08:00 – Daily Eucharist

08:30 – Breakfast (a glass of orange juice)

09:00 – Office work / appointments

11:00 – Tea break (again at 15:30)

11:00 – Office work / appointments

13:00 – Personal prayer

13:30 – Lunch and hour-long nap

15:00 – Office work / appointments

15:30 – Tea break

18:00 – Evening prayer in chapel

19:00 – A drink (usually a rum and coke) and supper at home

21:00 – In bed by 21:00 or 22:00

23:00 – Asleep (after Compline prayers)

“In addition to his daily prayers, Tutu fasted until supper on Fridays and observed a “quiet day” every month and a seven-day silent retreat once a year. During Lent he ate only in the evenings.

It soon became apparent to the staff of Bishopscourt that Tutu ebullient extrovert and Tutu the meditative priest who needed six or seven hours a day in silence were two sides of the same coin. One could not exist without the other: in particular, his extra-ordinary capacity to communicate with warmth, compassion, and humour depended on the regeneration of personal resources, which in turn depended on the iron self-discipline of his prayers.”

[Summarised from: Rabble-Rouser for Peace – The Authorised Biography of Desmond Tutu. By: John Allen. Pages 174/5]

Grace,
Alan