Happy birthday, Archbishop Tutu!
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu, is a South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid turns 85 today – October 7
He was the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and bishop of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa).
In celebration, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation will be hosting the sixth annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture.
If health permits him, Tutu may also attend mass this morning and then make his customary visit to the Food Lover’s Market Cafe in St George’s Mall, where the Cape Argus has been assured he will receive a birthday surprise.
Many dignitaries worldwide including Mayor Patricia de Lille wished “beloved” Tutu a happy birthday.
“With each passing year, we grow increasingly grateful for his leadership, sacrifices and moral guidance,” she said. “Through his life, the Arch has taught us about the courage of conviction, especially in the face of opposition and oppression. He has also taught us about the power there is in humility and the ability within each of us to take a stand against injustice.
“I would like to wish him years filled with good health, love and peace. While he has been battling with his health recently, we continue to carry him in our hearts and in our prayers.”
Tutu was recently admitted to hospital for surgery to address a recurring infection from past treatment for prostate cancer, according to spokesman Roger Friedman. After the surgery, his wounds showed signs of infection, and he was readmitted.
He has since been discharged from hospital, and is on the mend.
The Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture will be held at the Artscape on Friday night. Its usual venue at UWC was deemed to be threatened by the unrest surrounding student protests.
“We look forward to being back at the University of the Western Cape next year,” said Tutu van Furth, who is executive director of the Foundation. “This year, because of unrest in the Higher Education sector, the lecture has been moved to an alternate venue.
“The student protests are an important indicator that we are failing to deliver on the promise of freedom, justice and a non-racial democracy. We will continue to see protests in one sector or another until we devote ourselves to taking the promises of our constitution from paper and acting them in the lives of all of our citizens.”
This year the lecture will be delivered by Hina Jilal, who is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and was the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders from 2000 until April 2008