Our Patron and Co-Patron
We are so honoured and pleased to have as our patron, the Most Reverend Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town.
Born 7 October 1931 in Klerksdorp, South Africa, Bishop Desmond Tutu is an internationally renowned
religious leader and human rights activist who rose to worldwide prominence during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. Ordained an Anglican priest in 1960, he served as Bishop of Lesotho, and then Bishop of Johannesburg, before he was elected the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa in 1986.
Bishop Tutu chaired South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is a tireless defender of human rights and has campaigned for the oppressed and marginalized worldwide. In 1984, he became the second South African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The first recipient, in 1986, of the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, Bishop Tutu was also appointed a Grand Officer of the Légion d’honneur by France, as well as Chaplain and Sub-Prelate of the Venerable Order of Saint John by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He is a recipient of the German Order of Merit Grand Cross, the Sydney Peace Prize, the Gandhi Peace Prize, the King Hussein Prize and the Marion Doenhoff Prize for International Reconciliation and Understanding. He has received numerous doctorates and fellowships, and is the author of a number of books.
Bishop Tutu is also an indefatigable campaigner for an effective global response to the HIV pandemic. A vocal advocate for the rights of people living with HIV, he has served as the honorary chairman for the Global AIDS Alliance, and in 2003, he founded the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. “Those… who work to care for people suffering from AIDS and TB are wiping a tear from God’s eye,” he said in 2005.
When the UN released statistics in 2007 that indicated that the number of HIV infections worldwide was lower than previously thought, Bishop Tutu commented that these numbers were no more than “cold comfort” in light of the fact that that 600 people die of AIDS everyday in South Africa alone.
INERELA+ is proud to have the support and endorsement of such a remarkable patron.
Rev Canon Prof Gideon Baguma Byamugisha – INERELA+ Chaplain & Co-Patron;
Rev Canon Gideon Byamugisha is a native of Uganda and Anglican Reverend Canon, visiting scholar and Professor in various Universities who was elected as the INERELA+ Co – Patron and Chaplain on 17 June 2021. Canon Gideon is a well-respected and an internationally acclaimed promoter of types of theological thinking and ethical reflection, spiritual capital development and pastoral care modelling that can help faith communities to
- Tackle AIDS related stigma and discrimination more religiously
- Protect and defend people’s rights to HIV health better
- Contribute to ending AIDS faster.
Byamugisha is respected as a credible voice in decision making who leads mainly by example, always doing his best and encouraging others to do the same. He accepted Jesus as his personal saviour, friend and master in 1976 and went on to make global history in January 1992 by becoming the first religious leader in Africa to publicly announce that he was HIV positive.
Besides being a pioneer of an HIV positive theological ethics of mission and ministry that helped immensely in the global, national and local community efforts he has had a long and distinguished career in :
- Reducing and eventually eliminate the six related evils of stigma, shame, denial, discrimination, inaction and mis-action (SSDDIM) ;
(i) Safe behaviors, actions and practices
(ii) Access and adherence to affordable and good quality care, medical treatment and nutrition.
(iii) Voluntary, routine and stigma-sensitive counseling and testing
(iv) Empowerment of the most at risk children, adolescents and youths, the most vulnerable families, communities and community groups, the most AIDS challenged countries and regions and the most AIDS oppressed countries of our common globe (SAVE) ;
- Upholding the human dignity and human rights of people, families and communities living with, most vulnerable to and most impacted by both HIV and its socio-economic drivers, cultural-religious-theological facilitators and politico-legislative sustainers
While easy going by nature he has strong theological convictions on the need for a spirited spiritual resistance to preventable diseases, disasters, controllable distresses, corruptions and deaths; Byamugisha is recognized for working with his friends and family members, faith community leaders, congregations, supportive development partners and individual people living with HIV to establish the Friends of Canon Gideon Foundation (FOCAGIFO)- a self-help organization and not for profit ministry that helped him to initiate/conceive/found , among others, The Africa Network of Religious Leaders Living With and/ or Personally Affected by HIV (ANERELA+ 2002) –now International Network of Religious Leaders Living With and or Personally Affected by HIV (INERELA+) in 25 countries with 14,278 members
Down to earth and respected Byamugisha is a natural communicator, wonderful and warm Speaker who has been awarded numerous awards and among them are:
- The 2018 Straight Talk Foundation Board Appreciation Award.
- The 2017 UGANET Appreciation Award & Endorsement and selection as the National Convener –CSO/PHA/Faith & Cultural Sector Champions of Long-term Hope Contributing to the Implementation of the Presidential Fast Track Initiative to End AIDS A Public Health Threat by 2030;
- The 2010 Appointment as Scholar-In-Residence at The Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education (Birmingham, UK) & Honorary Award of Doctor of Divinity (University of Botswana) ;
- The 2008 Distinguished & Exemplary Leadership Award (Parliament of Uganda)
- The 2007 Friends of Africa Award of Commitment (Friends of the Global Fund)
- The 2006 appointment as Goodwill Ambassador on HIV & AIDS (Christian Aid, UK)
- The 2003 Uganda AIDS Commission National HIV Response Award
- The 2002 appointment as Church/FBO Partnerships Advisor (World Vision International)