UWI honours Desmond Tutu with Luminary Award


The University of the West Indies has named Desmond Tutu the recipient of its Luminary Award. His daughter, Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, received the award on his behalf, at an award gala in Toronto.

Mpho Tutu van Furth
Mpho Tutu van Furth, daughter of Desmond Tutu, centre, with Senator Murray Sinclair, left, and Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen at the University of the West Indies annual benefit gala in Toronto on 1 April 2017. Van Furth accepted the Luminary Award on her father’s behalf. (Image: Nicholas Keung, via UWI Gala)

Brand South Africa reporter

The University of the West Indies (UWI) has honoured Desmond Mpilo Tutu, the retired Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, with its Luminary Award.

The ceremony took place during the university’s Toronto Benefit Gala at The Ritz-Carlton in Toronto, Canada.

The award is given to people with a Caribbean heritage who have achieved outstanding feats internationally, or people who have brought prominence to the Caribbean or to issues that affect the region.

Tutu’s daughter, Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, travelled to Canada to receive the award on 1 April on behalf of her father.

Her father was honoured to continue his strong ties with Canada, she said at the ceremony. “He has this particular fondness for Canada since the 1980s at the height of the apartheid regime. Canada’s support was incredible and the welcome was amazing,” she said.

Second time around

The university first recognised Tutu for his accomplishments in 1986 when he received an honorary degree.

He has been described as having a strong passion for social justices and activism. Tutu became South Africa’s first black archbishop of the Anglican Church and served as the chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“He has also used his high-profile position to campaign, globally, for poverty, HIV/Aids, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and land rights,” said the university.

Tutu has been honoured with other globally respected awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the Gandhi Peace Prize, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the US.

Other recipients

Tutu was not the only recipient at the gala. Other honourees included neurosurgeon Dr Renn Holness, businesswoman and retired diplomat Kay McConney, entrepreneur and philanthropist Wayne Purboo, cardiologist and community activist Dr Vivian Rambihar, Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Michael Tulloch and GraceKennedy Limited, one of the Caribbean’s largest food and finance companies.

Source: UWI Toronto Gala

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