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Monday, May 21, 2007

Like Father, Like Daughter

Naomi Tutu, passionate advocate for peace and human rights, a child of Apartheid and daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, gave a stirring commencement speech to Bentley College graduates during the 88th undergraduate commencement ceremony this past Saturday, May 19.
She told graduates to beware of the myth of the self-made person, reminding them of what her own parents often reminded her, "What you achieve is not yours alone. It is actually a wonderful feeling to know that you are a part of something larger than yourself." Tutu said she had been fortunate to meet some of those who had made a better life possible for her. She pointed to people who had been killed or imprisoned for protesting Apartheid, including President Nelson Mandela with whom "I had an opportunity to spend time and see the effects of the years of working in those chalk mines on his eyes—and know that the sacrifice was for me."
For Tutu, one of the most poignant benefits of those sacrifices was her ability to vote 13 years ago, for the very first time in the country of her birth. "I know that those of you sitting here are not self-made people," she told the graduates. "Not to take away from your achievements, (but) you know that those people sitting behind you—your family and friends, along with your college faculty and staff—those who came before you to put up the buildings, those who gave to the college so you would have the wonderful facilities you now have, you know that each of these people have part of the degree that you are going to receive today. "But of all those people who went before to prepare the way for us, most of those people will not ask us to pay them back," she continued. "But what they do ask of us is to pay it forward. That we make this world a better place for those who come after us in just the way that they made this a better place for us."
(Photo Credits: PRNewsFoto/Bentley, A Business University)