Tutu's Role in the Political Transformation of South Africa
A people made desperate by despair, injustice, and oppression will use desperate means to end their oppression.
-- Desmond M. Tutu, 1983
Tutu argued that without freedom of the human person, the mind is totally oppressed and cannot function to bring out the best in human creative activity. Creativity is an indispensable quality of the human being. Without it constructive innovation, that part of human endeavor that makes it possible to improve society, is rendered meaningless. Tutu adds that freedom is the soul of society, the hub on which the social wheel rotates to move forward the vehicle that moves society to its destination: human fulfillment as a prerequisite of the development of society itself.
Tutu was of the opinion that in South Africa, where these components of freedom were denied to individuals, the South African society itself lost the purpose for which it existed. It began to die a slow and painful death, unable to recover from the social cancer that was destroying its vital tissue. In this situation those who denied freedom and those who are denied it suffer the same fate. Those who denied freedom fared no better in society than those who were denied it.
Does Tutu see any other functions of freedom? The answer is definitely yes. First, he says there must be freedom of thought, that central tenet of being human. It is this kind of freedom that produces an inventor, a philosopher, an entrepreneur, a theologian, a statesman, a music com-