Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama refused entry to South Africa

  1. Introduction

The Dalai Lama, a man revered for being an icon of peace was refused entry into South Africa, a country which ironically fought for democracy and peace for all race groups. The Dalai Lama was invited to attend a World Cup Peace Conference in South Africa but was refused entry when his visa was refused by the Department of Foreign Affairs (SAPA, 2009.) The essay will examine the possible reasons why the authorities refused to issue the Dalai Lama’s visa.   The following issues will be discussed; a brief history of Tibet, the reasons for his visit to South Africa, why he was refused entry into the country and the effects of the decision.

  2. A Brief History of Tibet

The Dalai Lama stems from a lineage of religious leaders of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism.   According to Khar (1991, p. 31) Dalai means “ocean” in Mongolian and Lama means “guru or spiritual teacher” When translated it means a teacher who is spiritually as deep as the ocean. (Khar, 2009, p. 31) The institution of the Dalai Lama has become a central focus of Tibetan culture. Its struggle for independence and cultural survival has captured the world’s attention (Khar, 2009, p. 32).

Between the 17th century and 1959 the lines of Dalai Lamas were the head of the Tibetan Government administering a portion of an area in the capital Lhasa. In 1912 the 13th Dalai Lama issued a Declaration of Independence from China. The Dalai Lamas continued to rule Tibet until the People’s Republic of China invaded the region in 1949 and took full control in 1959. The current, 14th Dalai Lama then fled to India and ceded power to an elected government in exile. This year marked the 50th anniversary of his exile and 60 years since what the Tibetans regards as China’s military invasion of Tibet but which the Chinese Government describes as its liberation of Tibetans. China has ruled remote and mountainous Tibet with an iron hand since the People's...