Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu turned 87 years old in a
hospital on Sunday, and birthday greetings poured in for the man once described
by Nelson Mandela as “our voice of conscience”.
Tutu, who has been treated for prostate cancer for many
years, was admitted to a Cape Town hospital for tests on September 27, the
latest of several hospital stays for the Nobel laureate in the last few years.
Tutu’s office had said he was in good spirits and hoped to
go home in a few days. On Saturday, the foundation named after Tutu and his
wife Leah wished him a “speedy” recovery.
Others wishing Tutu well included Gauteng Premier David
Makhura, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and former president FW de Klerk.
Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his efforts
to end apartheid and promote racial reconciliation in South Africa, and he has
lent his moral stature to causes and campaigns around the world over the years.
These days, he rarely makes public announcements or
appearances, though last month he said in a statement that terminally ill
people should have the right to a “dignified assisted death”.
Last year, Tutu sharply criticised Myanmar’s leader, Aung
San Suu Kyi, for her “silence” during the persecution of the Rohingya
Muslim minority in the Southeast Asian country.
Also in 2017, Tutu appeared outside a retirement home where
he and his wife were staying to show support for nationwide protests against former
president Jacob Zuma.
Mandela praised his fellow anti-apartheid campaigner in a
speech marking Tutu’s 75th birthday in 2006.
“We know that he often anguishes about the moral state
of our nation, wondering whether the values we thought we were struggling for
are being abandoned now that we are politically free,” said Mandela, who
died in 2013 at age 95.
“Continue to be our voice of conscience,” Mandela
said to Tutu.
Happy 87th birthday to our Founder Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Wishing you a beautiful day and may God continue to bless you as you bless all of us. From the Board and Staff. pic.twitter.com/TBfZdQ70cl
— TutuLegacy (@TutuLegacy) October 7, 2018
ANC WISHES ARCHBISHOP EMERITUS DESMOND TUTU A BLESSED BIRTHDAY
The African National Congress joins millions of people from South Africa and around the world in wishing Archbishop Emeritus #DesmondTutu a happy birthday.
Bishop Tutu turns 87 years-old today. pic.twitter.com/qGHp7XWpRJ
— African National Congress (@MYANC) October 7, 2018