Hello again from South Africa. Last week, I had the privilege of meeting Nelson Mandela. This week, I had the further privilege of meeting a celebrated activist who for decades was at the forefront of the struggle for equality, human rights and democracy in South Africa.
I met personally with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town.
It was incredible. I was most impressed with his intelligence and generosity. I was also surprised by his youthfulness and sense of humour. He was so funny! It’s amazing that a person who has led a life of struggle against tyranny and oppression can always look on the bright side of life and be so positive.
To be totally honest, the meeting was never supposed to take place. I was told that he was out of the country at the time I was in South Africa. But at the last minute, we received a call from the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town and were told he would be available. The fact that he took time out of his very busy schedule to meet with me illustrates what he is willing to do for young people throughout the world.
Mr. Tutu has authored dozens of books and continues to work tirelessly on behalf of peace, persons living with HIV/AIDS, women’s rights and underprivileged children all over the world. We had the chance to discuss some very important issues, and he gave me a autographed copy of this new book. Likewise, I had the pleasure of giving him my new book, Making Change.
I also journeyed into the eastern part of the country and the town of Hoedspruit, where I went on safari at the Tshutuku Lodge. I had the opportunity to see African lions and cheetahs close up. Thankfully, they were raised in captivity and so weren’t a danger. I would never dare do such a thing out in the wild!
I also loved meeting the people of the region, who are so warm and friendly. I met an incredible dance group that performs traditional African songs and visited several schools and spoke with students about a variety of topics. I hoped they learned a few things from me, because I certainly learned a lot from them.
South Africa has such a vibrant culture and history. The new generation of young people have so much hope for the future, in the same way that Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu did when they were young. So much has been accomplished, but youth in South Africa understand that more has to be done. Working together, we can do so.
Young people today will never know the old South Africa, but they will soon be the masters of the new one. It was an honour to experience it first hand.
“Together We Can Make A Difference”