October 8, 2010

Archbishop Tutu officially retires

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu officially retired on his 79th birthday. Tutu, who was a major figure in the struggle against apartheid, announced in July that he would step down from public life, and would stop giving media interviews, from 7 October, his birthday.

"I have got a wife and family that help to keep my head the right size. Just when I am thinking that I am the cat's whiskers, they remind me that, 'You are just daddy for us and husband'," Tutu said.

The former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, who won his Nobel Prize in 1984, during the height of the struggle against white minority rule, has also strongly criticised corruption within the ruling African National Congress government and the tyranny he has seen in Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's rule. He became the first black general secretary of the South African Council of Churches in 1978, and then in 1986 the first black to head South Africa's Anglican Church. The archbishop also headed South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission into crimes committed in the name of apartheid and also in the struggle against the racist ideology. Tutu has always collaborated with other denominations and faiths. He worked closely with the World Council of Churches in the fight for racial justice during apartheid and on climate change during the 2009 United Nations' talks in Copenhagen. He said he would honour his existing appointments, but will not add any new engagements to his schedule. He will limit his working time to one day a week until his office winds down in February 2011.

During his retirement Tutu said he would enjoy watching cricket, rugby and soccer as well as other popular sports in South Africa. When he announced he would step down, he said, "I will shut up but sometimes I might not be able to resist." (sapa)

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