South African activist Naomi Tutu to deliver lecture at La Sierra University

Feb. 13, 2013
By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( Naomi Tutu, South African human rights activist, public speaker and educator will deliver the second annual Distinguished Lecture Series address at La Sierra University.

The presentation will be held Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. at the La Sierra University Church, 4937 Sierra Vista Ave. Admission is free. Tutu’s assembly presentation can also be viewed live online at

Tutu, daughter of retired Archbishop Desmond and Nomalizo Leah Tutu, will discuss the challenges of growing up black and female in apartheid South Africa, experiences that formed the basis of her work as a human rights activist.

Tutu was educated in Swaziland, the United States and England and divides her life between South Africa and the United States. She speaks frequently for business associations, professional conferences, colleges and universities, churches and civic organizations and other groups. In addition, she established Nozizwe Consulting which aims to bring different groups together to learn from and celebrate differences, and acknowledge shared humanity. Through this work Tutu has led truth and reconciliation workshops for groups dealing with conflict.

Tutu has served as a development consultant in West Africa, and program coordinator at the African Gender Institute, University of Cape Town leading programs on race and gender issues. Additionally she has taught at the University of Hartford, University of Connecticut, and at Brevard College in North Carolina. She also served as program coordinator for the Race Relations Institute at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., and joined the institute’s delegation to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa.

The Distinguished Lecture Series, conceived by La Sierra University Provost Steve Pawluk, is coordinated by the university’s Intellectual Life Committee. The series is intended to impress upon students the idea that higher education is not just for personal gain, but to also help them become leaders who will use their learning for the greater good, stated Pawluk.

The committee deliberated long in deciding this year’s speaker, said Beatriz Mejia-Krumbein, chair of the committee and of the university’s art department. “We were looking for people who have empowering stories, something people will connect with and perhaps experience a turning point in their own lives,” she said. “We want to stress how education influences people to make the world a better place, how it empowers people to make change.”

“When we came across the name Naomi Tutu, it resonated with us,” Mejia-Krumbein said, in part because the university has honored Tutu’s father, Nobel Peace Prize winner and renowned South African social rights activist Desmond Tutu, with a stone plaque on the university’s Path of the Just. The path features honorary stones and benches inscribed with the names of various humanitarian leaders. It stretches alongside the university’s Founders’ Green and around a landscaped middle stairway and water feature. 

The Distinguished Lecture Series presentations are held once a year in the spring and are intended to impact the lives of the students. Last year’s debut lecture featured John Bul Dau, a former Sudanese refugee who established three foundations to help his fellow South Sudanese. Dau’s story of escape from horrific civil conflict, violence, starvation and deprivation to a new life in the United States is featured in the award-winning documentary, “God Grew Tired of Us,” narrated by Nicole Kidman.

  • Last update on  February 13, 2013