During my Fulbright experience in South Africa I was engaged in research focused on the intersection of race, class, and gender. While there, in an effort to better understand the ability of Black South Africans to forgive the atrocities done to them, I began reading Bishop Desmond Tutu’s book No Future Without Forgiveness. Part way through this transformative book, I was invited to visit a college in Pretoria, South Africa. Upon my arrival, at a pre-arranged guest house, I snuggled comfortably in place and resumed reading Tutu’s book. Much to my surprise, while reading the book, Bishop Tutu and his lovely wife entered the room in which I was sitting, as they were booked at the same guest house! They gave me a warm familial welcome. Dumfounded by this serendipitous moment (the three of us were the only ones staying in the guest house) I screamed inwardly with glee, as I met this living legacy, international icon, human rights hero, and man of faith! With his book in hand, like a perfectly prepared prop, I sheepishly asked him to sign my, no his book. Since then, I have been blessed to take his message of reconciliation and forgiveness and incorporate it into the work that I do as a scholar, leader, and minister. For that I will forever be grateful!
Dr. Kimberly Battle-Walters Denu – Fulbright to South Africa 2002 and Ethiopia 2018-2019