Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

Date February 15, 2008

For More Information: Brenda Rayner 901-333-4247

Naomi Tutu Delivers Emotionally Charged Address at Southwest

Naomi Tutu, daughter of Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, delivered three addresses at Southwest on Monday, February 11; to the student body at Union Avenue Campus at 10 a.m., at noon during a special luncheon in her honor on the Macon Cove Campus, and to the Macon Cove student body at 2 p.m. Tutu’s appearance was part of the International Education Conference co-sponsored by Southwest and the University of Memphis.

“We Are the World,” the theme for Tutu’s presentation, focused on the connectedness of each individual to the whole of mankind. An African proverb, translated “A person is a person through other people,” was used to support her theme. “There are different levels of understanding that proverb. Its most basic level is that when we are born, we are all born biologically homo sapiens, but we don’t know what it is to be human,” she stressed. Tutu further stated, “We don’t know, when we are born, what it is; we don’t know how to speak, we don’t know how to interact with other people. We don’t know how to act and react. And those things we only learn from our relationships with other people.”

Tutu contrasted the victimization that both White and black South Africans suffered under apartheid; Black South Africans poverty and injustice, and White South Africans imprisonment by walls of fear. “So that whatever we think that we are doing for or against another person, in reality, we are doing for or against ourselves...People who struggle to free others, who struggle to empower others, struggle to give voice to others, actually give themselves all of those things,” was her emotional assessment.

Dr. Yvonne Robinson Jones, professor for the Fine Arts, Languages and Literature Department and director of International Education, gave an overview of Southwest’s first study abroad program. She told the assembly that eight Southwest students who meet the pre-requites will have the opportunity to study African American Literature at the University of Cape Town for three weeks in May. Having met the criteria for scholarships being offered, these eight students will have almost all their financial expenses covered including tuition, travel, and two meals daily. “We are very excited about this new initiative because community colleges particularly are now joining the academic community that traditionally look beyond their borders for recognizing foreign travel and foreign students, faculty and staff,” said Dr. Jones.


Cutline: Naomi Tutu in an emotionally charged address on the Macon Cove Campus.