Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ubuntu Lecture and Dialogue Awards

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The third annual Peace and Dialogue Awards were presented at a splendid ceremony in Johannesburg on 13 February 2010 where HE Premier Mokonyane gave the Ubuntu Lecture.

A wide range of participants, including politicians, academics, artists and sportsmen, were present at the event where awards were given under five categories. The award winners praised the activities carried out by THI in their acceptance speeches. Premier Nomvula Mokonyane was the ceremony's keynote speaker. Addressing the audience, Mokonyane said she had cancelled her program in parliament in order to attend.

She touched on the importance of such an organization in an African country that had unfortunately been the home of history's harshest racist movements. The Turquoise Harmony Institute is one of the dialogue centers inspired by the prominent Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen to promote mutual understanding and exchange between people from different cultures and religions.

The audience was moved by the speech of this year's winner of the Fethullah Gülen Special Award, Ahmed Kathrada, a devoted companion of South Africa's legendary leader Nelson Mandela. Unable to hold back his tears while speaking, Kathrada said he was accepting the award not on his own behalf but in the name of his friends imprisoned in their fight against racist practices and who did not regain their freedom and breathed their last breath behind bars. Kathrada spent 18 of the 26 years of his imprisonment together with Mandela at the infamous Robben Island. Last year's special award was given to Mahatma Gandhi's granddaughter, Ela Gandhi who was also present in this year’s ceremony.

The University of the Western Cape's deputy vice-chancellor, Professor Stanley Ridge, won the academia award. He commended the movement named after Gülen and said he particularly appreciated its transparency. "The Gülen movement is very transparent and open to everyone. What lies at the foundation of its authenticity is this, too. We have learned that being affectionate means being tolerant to others' differences. I see that word defines the organizers of this night very well," stated Ridge, and added that schools opened worldwide by the members of this movement will contribute much to world civilization.