Mrs Tutu's gift to keep on giving

2015-10-14 16:38
(Tammy Petersen, News24)

(Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town’s decision to lease The Granary to the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation was a "birthday gift that will keep on giving back to the people", their daughter, Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu, said on Wednesday.

This as the Tutus signed a ceremonial lease on Leah’s 82nd birthday to develop a peace centre.

The Granary, one of Cape Town’s oldest and and most significant heritage buildings, is 204 years old and is considered an architectural landmark.

It was built in 1814 by the British colonial government for the use of a Customs House and was in 1819 converted into a Town Granary.

It was later used as a magistrate’s court, civil engineer’s office, public works and a post office.

"Due to the many... [uses] of the building over the years, a variety of layers of fabric from different periods are visible," Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille said.

Of high cultural, social, historic significance

"The complex of buildings on the erf are of high cultural, social, architectural and historic significance and form a part of the country’s heritage resources which should be protected and maintained for future generations.

"We feel it is only fitting that the legacies of the Arch and Mama Leah should be preserved in the same way."

An overwhelmed Leah Tutu repeatedly thanked De Lille for the gesture.

Mpho Tutu said the foundation had dreamt of a centre that would "fully represent the legacy of my parents".

"I pray that the blessing we are being granted... will be a blessing that flows out from this place to the rest of the city, province, country and world," she said.

"We are profoundly grateful to be granted an opportunity to continue the legacy of giving back to our communities. God bless you."

The Desmond Tutu Peace Trust announced in April - it was dissolved in May 2015 - it would contribute R12m to refurbish the structure. De Lille said the City would contribute R30m to restore it.

Several organisations used the building in the past, but none were able to raise the money to fix the crumbling structure.

According to the City, the start of the refurbishment is set for mid-2016 and it is expected to be completed by early 2017.

Read more on:    patricia de lille  |  desmond tutu  |  mpho tutu  |  cape town

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