March at Wits to support Dalai Lama and Arch-emeritus Tutu

Wits invites South Africans to join
a public march tomorrow to protest against the Dalai Lama not being allowed to
enter South Africa

Wits Univeristy invites the South African public to join a march by Wits
alumni, academics, staff, students and friends to protest against government’s
deliberate indecision to not grant a visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Members of the public are invited to join Wits staff (in academic dress) and
students at 15:00 Wednesday, 5 October 2011 in a
General Assembly outside the Wits Great Hall. Following an address by the Vice-Chancellor and
Principal of Wits University, the assembly will march to Jan Smuts Avenue
(between Empire Road and Jorissen Street) to line the streets in public protest
at the South African government for silencing the voice of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama.

“We, as South Africans, have
a moral obligation to provide a platform for all voices to be heard, including
the voice of the Dalai Lama. The University condemns the state for once again not granting a
visa for this stalwart of peace to enter our country,” says Prof. Loyiso
Nongxa, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University. “The state’s deliberate
indecision ridicules the values pertaining to freedom of speech, expression and
movement enshrined in our Constitution, and the freedoms for which so many
South African have lived, and indeed died.”

This is our opportunity as South Africans to demand our rights as citizens of
this country and to have
our voices heard, especially where we can see clear injustices being

“We view the exclusion of the Dalai Lama from our shores with grave misgivings.
This betrayal of a key
constitutional value provides a clear window into the fragility of the
democracy we are trying to sustain. We add our voice to that of other leaders,
calling on the South African government to apologise to the nation for this
oversight. It is a betrayal of everything that we, as South Africans, fought
against during the apartheid regime and a gross violation of the values we espouse
as a nation,” adds Nongxa.

The Dalai Lama was scheduled to attend Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday
party and was scheduled to deliver a public lecture at Wits on Wednesday, 12
October 2011, addressing students, staff members, guests and the media on
Non-Violence in the New Century: The Way Forward. This would have been his
second visit to Wits in the last ten years and was to be hosted by Wits
University, the Gandhi Centenary Committee, The Missing Millennium Development
Goal campaign and Afrika Tikkun.

Kirti Menon, Chairperson of the Gandhi Committee says: “The Gandhi Centenary
Committee is saddened by the decision and cannot believe that someone of the
stature of the Dalai Lama who symbolises peace could be denied entry into this
country. It does mean that as a country we may have lost our moral compass and
we need to have an explicit understanding of who can visit this country and who
will be denied entry.”

Bonolo Cebe, a Wits student & One Young World Ambassador for South Africa
speaks on behalf of the youth: “When a state makes a decision such as
refusing to grant the Dalai Lama entry into South Africa it needs to recognise
the fact that as young people we too have much to learn from great leaders of
his calibre. The message of non-violence and peace is very much relevant in our
time as we students continue the fight for justice and equal opportunities for
all. As One Young World Ambassadors we will continue to work towards
conscientising other young people to understand the value of freedom: freedom
from outside pressures and freedom from any form of discrimination.”

This sentiment was echoed by Kwadwo Ofori Owusu, One Young World South African
Ambassador and Missing Millennium Development Goal campaign member: “The
decision of the South African government to deny His Holiness the Dalai Lama a
visa is lamentable. It is unfortunate that a man so peaceful can, in the eyes
of the government, be seen to pose such a threat. Now more than ever it is
important for us to hear his message of non-violence, and as One Young World
ambassadors campaigning for an end to violence in the name of religion, the
absence of His Holiness serves only to embolden us on in our commitment to the
pursuit of a world of peace, tolerance and the attainment of human rights for


2 responses to this post.

  1. I think you will enjoy this cartoon I spotted on Wonkie today about Tutu, the Dalai Lama and the state of South Africa’s foreign policy:



  2. Posted by navneet on November 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    It show the weakness of african democracy people of south africa should protest it



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