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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 May, 2005, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
End of apartheid
On Sunday 29 May 2005, Sir David Frost interviewed Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

DAVID FROST: One of the most inspiring events of the last 12 and a half years was undoubtedly the coming of democracy to South Africa.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a key figure in the struggle against apartheid, and he's been a regular guest on this programme.

I spoke to him once again, a little earlier, from New York.

And I began by asking him whether during all those long years of oppression did he always believe that apartheid really would one day be overthrown?

DESMOND TUTU: I have to say yes. I believed that apartheid would end but I also have to confess that I was quite amazed at how quickly the end came when it did eventually come.

And, and of course I mean, the release of Nelson Mandela and all that followed after that. It's just unbelievable, quite out of this world really. And God has been wonderfully, wonderfully good to us.

DAVID FROST: But of course South Africa still faces a huge problem with poverty, doesn't it?

DESMOND TUTU: Oh absolutely. I mean it's devastating. The legacy of apartheid has been enormous. And we really needed to have something like a marshal plan to deal with the devastation that apartheid has left.

DAVID FROST: And as the G8 leaders prepare for their summit on world poverty at Gleneagles in July, what would be your message to them?

DESMOND TUTU: We used to say, dear leaders we are family. And if one part of the family suffers as so much of the so-called third world is suffering, groaning under the burden of debt and poverty, there's no way in which other parts, even more prosperous parts, will not be affected. It is in your interests and the interests of the people that you lead, that you will help to eradicate poverty. You will remove the burden of international debt.

DAVID FROST: With all these problems facing the world, not just poverty, but the environment, the clash of cultures or religions which some people talk about - it's pretty hard to be optimistic. But I've always thought of you as an optimist.

DESMOND TUTU: David, I've never been an optimist. I am a prisoner of hope, which is different. I am aware as you are, and as so many of us are, that the world grows and there's so many awful things - poverty, Tsunami, the awfulness's that have happened in Sarajevo, ethnic cleansing, Rwanda, you go on and on and on and frequently you will say it is a real mess.

But it is important to keep remembering that in that mess good things have happened. And I have no doubt myself that this is a moral universe and goodness and love and caring are ultimately what will prevail. Not the ghastly opposite.

DAVID FROST: Finally Desmond, how are you? How is your health?

DESMOND TUTU: (laughter) I should say before I answer that, David, heartiest congratulations on a tremendous achievement. You've been a national institution and your show has been an international institution.

Heartiest congratulations on your achievement. I am fine, I am fine. I am made more aware of my mortality but then I also realise what a fantastic life God has blessed me with and how wonderful people have been to me. And I just give thanks for what has happened.

DAVID FROST: Desmond, thank you so much for being with us today.

Interview Ends


NB: this transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from an original script.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for its accuracy.


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