Chief Luthuli honoured

THE memory of Africa's first Nobel Peace prize laureate and former ANC president, Chief Albert Luthuli, is to be honoured with the resumption of the Albert Luthuli Memorial Lectures.

The inaugural Albert Luthuli Memorial Lecture was delivered by President Thabo Mbeki in 2004 but was then inexplicably discontinued.

Yesterday Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile announced that his department, in conjunction with the Chief Albert Luthuli Museum, Albert Luthuli Foundation and University of KwaZulu-Natal, will resume the once highly-regarded memorial lecture.

The resumption of the lecture will happen at the Chief Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban on November 24.

The lecture will this time be delivered by President Jacob Zuma. Its theme will be "Service to Mankind". Former Zambian and Mozambican presidents Kenneth Kaunda and Joachim Chissano, respectively, delivered the previous lectures in 2005 and 2007.

"The Chief Albert Luthuli Memorial Lecture forms part of the Chief Albert Luthuli Legacy Project initiated by the Department of Arts and Culture in partnership with the University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal. Luthuli, the first African to win the Nobel Prize for peace (1960) was way ahead of time with regards to nation-building and reconciliation as he advocated racial diversity as a tool for nation building," Mashatile told the media in Johannesburg yesterday.

The briefing was attended by Luthuli's family, including his daughter Thandeka Luthuli.

"Luthuli's life story is yet to be told in its totality. He had deep-rooted ideals, strong principles of freedom and equality, and indeed lived these in his daily life," Mthunzi Luthuli, chairperson of the Chief Albert Luthuli Foundation, said.

Luthuli was awarded the 1960 Nobel Prize for Peace for his part in the country's anti-apartheid struggle.

He led the ANC in the 1950s and 1960s, advocating non-violent conflict resolution and encouraging political diversity.

On July 21 1967, while out walking near his home in Groutville, Luthuli was hit by a train and died. He was allegedly crossing a rail line at the time - an explanation dismissed by many of his followers, who believed more sinister forces were at work.

American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson has also been invited to the lecture.

Luthuli and the US civil rights movement shared notes in the 1950s and 1960s. Jackson was part of its leadership.