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Learning English - Words in the News
 
27 September, 2006 - Published 12:28 GMT
 
Tutu calls for more respect
 
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, anti-apartheid activist and peace campaigner
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has spoken very honestly about the need for South Africans to respect one another. He was speaking at a lecture in memory of Steve Biko, a well known anti-apartheid campaigner. This report from Will Ross in Johannesburg:

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu was blunt. To South Africans he said: the fact of the matter is we despise ourselves, we really despise ourselves and project it onto others. His Steve Biko Memorial Lecture praised the man who led the black consciousness movement in South Africa as a remarkable young man who made a unique assessment of why black people were always at the end of the queue.

During the 1960s and 70s, Steve Biko had underlined the need for blacks to throw off mental as well as physical oppression of apartheid rule. Steve Biko died after being tortured by the apartheid police in 1977. Desmond Tutu said the best memorial to Biko would be a South Africa where everyone respected themselves.

But he went on to paint a very different picture and pulled no punches on the subject of South Africa's alarmingly high rate of violent crime, including car hijacking. Archbishop Tutu said scared car owners handed over the keys but were then shot dead in cold blood for the sheer hell of it -- utterly, gratuitously, wantonly. He asked: is it not horrendous for an adult man to rape a nine-month-old baby.

Despite the fact that white minority rule ended twelve years ago, Archbishop Tutu questioned whether people realised the long-term damage of the apartheid system, saying: we seem to have lost our sense of right and wrong. Desmond Tutu called on South Africans to respect each other and to oppose xenophobia, and ended his lecture saying: you know what, we are indeed a scintillating success waiting to happen.

Will Ross, BBC News, Johannesburg

Listen to the words

despise
hate, have a strong dislike for

Memorial
an event or object to help people remember a famous person who has died

remarkable
special and unusual, therefore talked about

to throw off mental as well as physical oppression
to get rid of and escape the negative things which stop their minds and bodies from being free

apartheid
the former South African political system which made it illegal for people of different races to live equally together

tortured
caused great physical and mental pain in order to get information or cooperation

pulled no punches
spoke without worrying how people might feel or what they might think

for the sheer hell of it
for fun, without any good reason

wantonly
cruelly, causing great damage

long-term damage
the effects of great harm which will last a very long time


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