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Desmond Tutu – highs and lows

August 10, 2010

tutuDesmond Tutu was Cape Town’s first black archbishop and a vocal critic of South Africa’s apartheid government. 

Last month the Nobel peace prize winner announced he would retire from public duties later this year, when he turns 79. He spoke to Reuters Africa Journal about his long career as a churchman and activist.

What were the low points?

 ”When Steve Biko was killed in 1977 that was another moment when you felt as if God had abandoned us. But it was wonderful at his funeral when so many people pitched up and they were really defiant in their spirits. And another low point, and a dangerous low point, was the assassination of Chris Hani (in 1993). If our country never went up in flames, I don’t think it will ever go up in flames. I mean it was one of the most awful, awful moments.”

And the highs?

 ”I would say the highest point for me was when I stood on the balcony in 1994 to introduce our new, brand new president to South Africa and the world. That is a moment that will not be equalled by anything. Just to know that we are really free, we have our own, very own president which we have elected. I mean it was really like a dream.”

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