Rich-poor gap threat to South Africa’s progress: Desmond Tutu
New Delhi – South Africa’s Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said that the progress being made by South Africa would be halted if the gap between the rich and the poor is not narrowed.
“We have the widest gap between the rich and the poor. It can’t be good for the poor, and it can’t be good for the rich,” Tutu said delivering the inaugural Janagraha L.C. Jain Memorial Lecture at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library here Tuesday evening.
Tutu’s lecture was to acknowledge the contribution of people who worked to promote human rights like the late L.C. Jain.
The poor want to be treated with dignity and cooperate with those who want to improve their lot, he said.
“Poor people do not want handouts. Most of those who are designated as poor are proud and do not want to be regarded as objects of pity,” he added.
Tutu thanked India for its support to the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and for its gaining independence in 1994.
“Nelson Mandela (former South African president) and others were able to walk out of prison because of what you did. We owe our freedom in no small sense to you,” Tutu told the audience that included External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Gursharan Kaur, wife of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
L.C. Jain, a Gandhian and freedom fighter, was India’s first high commissioner to South Africa after the end of apartheid in 1994.