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Mandela and Tutu: Understand the facts before the event

09.15.2015 | By:
Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, and Naomi Tutu, daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, will be the speakers at this year’s Willson Lectureship at Texas Wesleyan University.

Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, and Naomi Tutu, daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, are coming to Fort Worth Sept. 28 to speak at this year's Willson Lectureship in Martin Hall.

The lecture, Continuing to Strive for Truth and Reconciliation, will begin at 7 p.m. Mandela and Tutu will each deliver a 30-minute speech, followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Why is this important?

This is the first time the two human rights activists, whose forefathers ended apartheid, have presented together. Each speaker is following in the footsteps of their ancestors by sharing lessons learned and fighting for human rights in Africa and across the globe. 

"Now is an important time in the history of our nation and the history of humankind to revisit the lessons of our forefathers," Mark Hanshaw, Ph.D., associate dean of the School of Arts and Letters and associate professor of religious studies, said. 

"Compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation, as illustrated through the legacies of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, are crucial to developing inter-faith and inter-race understanding across the globe."

Ending apartheid in South Africa

Apartheid (pronounced "a-par-tide") in South Africa was a legal policy of segregation on grounds of race.

Ndaba Mandela's grandfather, Nelson Mandela, was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as the first democratically-elected president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Prior to his presidency, he spent 27 years in prison (1962-1990) for trying to overthrow the pro-apartheid government. He is known for ending apartheid and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Nelson Mandela died in 2013 from a recurring lung infection.

Naomi Tutu's father, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is a Nobel Peace Laureate (1984) and is regarded as one of the greatest living moral icons of our time. He was also the first black South African Archbishop of Cape Town and primate of the Anglican Church of South Africa. He is known around the world for his vocal role in ending apartheid in South Africa. In 1995, Nelson Mandela appointed him head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a commission to investigate crimes committed by all sides during the apartheid regime. Today, he continues to advocate for social justice and equality across the globe.

Ndaba Mandela's Bio

Following in the footsteps of his beloved and iconic grandfather, Ndaba Mandela has taken the torch of freedom – and run with it. Today, Nelson Mandela's legacy lives on as Ndaba continues to keep its beacon of hope bright, fueling its fiery message that one person can make a difference. Ndaba was recently named one of the "28 Men of Change" by BET. He is showing the world, through his actions and orations, that Nelson Mandela's voice and message of freedom still carries and rings true – sounded by a child that became a man under the warm embrace and expert tutelage of one of history's greatest teachers.

Ndaba is the co-founder and co-chairman of the Africa Rising Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting a positive image of Africa around the world and to increasing its potential for growth in the areas of education, employment and international corporate alliances for profit and partnership. 

Naomi Tutu's Bio

The challenges of growing up black and female in apartheid South Africa is the foundation of Naomi Tutu's life as an activist for human rights and dignity. Her professional experience ranges from being a development consultant in West Africa to being a race & gender and gender-based violence program coordinator at the African Gender Institute and the University of Cape Town.

Naomi Tutu has taught at the University of Hartford, University of Connecticut and Brevard College in North Carolina. As a consultant, she leads Truth and Reconciliation Workshops for groups dealing with different types of conflict. Ms. Tutu is in the final year of her master's in Divinity at Vanderbilt Divinity School and is a candidate for ordination in the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee.  She is the single mother of two daughters and a son.

The Willson Lectureship

Texas Wesleyan is celebrating its 125th Anniversary during the 2015-16 academic year. As part of the ongoing celebrations, the University is Texas-sizing many of its traditional events.

"We wanted to make this year's Willson Lectureship one of our most impactful ever, as a tribute to our students and to our 125th anniversary," President Frederick G. Slabach said.

The Willson Lectureship is an endowed speaker series that was established in 1946 by Mr. J.M. Willson and Mrs. D.M. Willson, and family. The lecture takes place during the fall semester.

Former notable speakers at Texas Wesleyan include Arun Gandhi and Michael Dowd, author of Thank God for Evolution.