Africa 

South Africa: Desmond Tutu marks 90th birthday with rare public appearance

Desmond Tutu, South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon, Nobel peace laureate and a man dubbed the “moral compass of the nation,” marked his 90th birthday Thursday with a rare public appearance.

The jovial Tutu, who has long spoken out against injustice, attended a special thanksgiving service at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, where he was appointed South Africa’s first black Anglican archbishop.

The service opened with a rendition of “Happy Birthday”.

Tutu, looking healthy and wearing his trademark purple shirt and white collar under a black suit, waved in acknowledgement from a wheelchair.

He sat next to Leah, his wife of 66 years.

“This is a great day. You are with us despite all the many challenges over the years. Ninety years!” said Allan Boesak, a fellow anti-apartheid activist and clergyman who led the service.

“If some people had their way, you would have been dead already… their wish would have been just for Desmond Tutu to be gone and to shut up or be shut, but here you are,” Boesak said in a fiery sermon.

During the hour-long low-key service, Boesak said Tutu had repeatedly told the apartheid administration that it was “evil” and warned it would “very soon bite the dust… ignominiously”.

Tributes and well-wishes for the revered anti-apartheid icon have poured in from presidents, individuals and organisations from around the globe.

President Cyril Ramaphosa lauded Tutu “as a fighter in the cause for human rights, for equality and for social justice” throughout the 59 years since his ordination.

President Cyril Ramaphosa lauded Tutu “as a fighter in the cause for human rights, for equality and for social justice” throughout the 59 years since his ordination.

He paid tribute to “The Arch,” as Tutu is fondly called in South Africa, “for a life that has been well-lived in honesty, integrity, fearlessness and service to humanity.”

US President Joe Biden said he was “inspired by his personal commitment to championing human rights and to always speaking out for what is right.”

“The world has continued to learn from Archbishop Tutu’s message of justice, equality, and reconciliation,” Biden said in a statement.

Sourced from Africanews

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