Time to slow down, says Tutu

2010-07-22 14:20

Cape Town - Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, who became a global figure for using his church pulpit to help bring down apartheid, said on Thursday he would retire from public duties later this year.

"The time has now come to slow down," Tutu said in Cape Town during a nationally televised news conference.

Tutu said he would step down in October when he turns 79 so that he "could sip tea in the afternoon" with his wife, enjoy more time with his family and spend time watching cricket.

The congenial Tutu, who retired more than a decade ago from his post as the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, has established a peace foundation, advised political leaders, served in a council of retired global statesmen and women and had been an active public speaker.

No more media interviews

He was most recently in the public eye when he spoke at several events for South Africa's hosting of the soccer World Cup, which many said was one of the most important events in the country's history after the end of apartheid 16 years ago.

He will continue to offer his support for his peace foundation but plans to step down from a university post, his work with a UN commission on preventing genocide and will no longer give media interviews.

But he said he would continue working with the council of statesmen, known as The Elders.

Tutu's position in the church gave him a prominent national platform from which to criticise the apartheid system and he repeatedly called for equal rights and a common education system.

His outspokenness incurred the wrath of the apartheid government, which tried to prevent him travelling widely by revoking his passport. This move was reversed after intense international criticism.


International recognition for his work came most notably in 1984 when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Two years later, he was became Archbishop of Cape Town, the first black African to serve in this position.

Meanwhile, pressure on the apartheid government was mounting and talks between politicians and the African National Congress led to the release in 1990 of Nelson Mandela and the dismantling of apartheid laws.

Following national elections, the new President Mandela appointed Tutu in 1994 as chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the body charged with examining the human rights abuses of the apartheid years.

Tutu told the news conference that introducing Mandela as president of South Africa was one of the greatest moments of his life.

"I said to God, 'God, if I die now, I don't really mind'."

  • WhosElder - 2010-07-22 14:34

    Who made Tutu an elder? Imagine if Goliath had chosen to become an Elder of Israel, at the time of David, what would have happened? This elder thing is a fraud. An elder is someone who has matured WITHIN a society and whose wisdom is recognized. Neither apply to Tutu outside of South Africa. So, who selected him to be an Elder in Africa? His positions on many religious issues is at variance with those of the majority of Africans. Needless to say, he is in complete alignment with Europe. Could it be that Europe is pushing him and Anan and others to be defact elders? But, whose elders? They have no juridisction over the affairs of any country, including even South Africa. So, who made him elder?

  • Jo - 2010-07-22 14:44

    A man who was never afriad to speak out against injustice even under the new government. Enjoy the rest Arch!

  • Paddy - 2010-07-22 14:55

    @WhosElder. The Elders are a group of retired leaders - across the glove. It is an honour to serve in this group. If my memory serves me correctly, the group was formed by the United Nations. The Arch did not decided all by himself that he was an elder. Besides, Desmond Tutu is one of the mose humble beings I have ever met in my life - give him credit where it is due. Thank you Desmond Tutu for serving so faithfully - enjoy your well earned time with your family!

  • Amanda - 2010-07-22 15:19

    Siyabulela Tat'u Thutu,ngokuchitha ixesha usenza imisebenzi,neenkonzo zasekuhlaleni.U kwi nqababa eliphezulu kakhulu kwaye
    Ungumzekelo ngokwenene,yaye ke siyakuhlonipha kakhulu nje nga bahlali base Mzantsi Africa,
    Wanga u Thixo anga kwandisela iintsuku zokuphila kwakho,ukhule ukhokhobe xhego lakwa Tutu.

    Enkosi Tata

  • erena - 2010-07-22 15:20

    We understand you need a rest, but know you will be there when needes. Thanks for everything. Have a good rest.

  • ir8m8 - 2010-07-22 15:25

    If there was ever a man that could sit as an elder for the continent it is the Arch and if Madiba was still young enough, i would like to have seen him right there next to him.
    To the Arch, Thankyou for teaching a stupid whitee the real meaning of "serving" even if we have different beleifs.

  • Put Wind In My Sail - 2010-07-22 15:27

    @WhosElder. The Elders are apolitical and support causes around the world... I hope H.D Tutu enjoys his retirement. Was great to see him doing his jig at the SWC opening ceremony... Not bad for close on 79.

  • @WhosElder - 2010-07-22 15:33

    WhosElder. Your comment clearly displays your knowledge levels about what happens in around you. If i were you i would reserve my comments. Desmond Tutu won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, long before Nelson Mandela and De Clerk even shared the award. The question that you should be asking yourslef is "Who wins a Nobel Peace Prize and Why?" Obviously, you won't have an answer to that because you're ill-informed about your surroundings. My advice: Equip yourself with knowledge before deciding on commenting in platforms of this nature. You're embarrassing yourself maan... Read brother/siter!! Read or at least watch the news!! that'll help you a lot.

  • Shams - 2010-07-22 15:37

    Thank you for all you have done for SA and its citizens! Enjoy a well deserved rest and retirement.

  • Newsferret - 2010-07-22 15:45

    In response to WhoseElder I merely wish to refer readers to the following website

  • Magz - 2010-07-22 15:51

    History will judge the Arch as the most loyal South African.Who was a patriot in the face of adversity.He stood up to the Apartheid machinery when very few could and unflinchingly took on PW.He equally rebuked African when they engaged in self-destructive behaviour. You deserve the break Arch.Siyakuhlonipha munt'omdala.

  • Amelam - 2010-07-22 16:04

    He will be missed.He has always been a breath of fresh air and reasonable. Enjoy you retirement Archbishop.

  • Andy - 2010-07-22 19:40

    Dear Desmond,
    From CLEANCUT, we wish you EVERYTHING you wish for !!
    Please take a rest now, God is with you and your followers.


  • BULLSH1T! - 2010-07-22 22:50

    The 'arch', many years ago, signed surety for his son's car (Trevor - you surely remember him? The same guy who started a bomb-scare at OR Tambo because he was irritated with waiting) with a major bank, fully knowing the risks and consequences, and when Trevor defaulted and we had to collect from the 'arch', the 'arch' whined like a little baby "But I'm only a poor man of the cloth. Where do you think I can find this sort of money?". He's a liar, a fraud, and a charlatan! He hides behind his collar like a drunk behind a bottle. He has less integrity than even Zuma - and THAT's saying a lot.

  • Johann van Huyssteen - 2010-07-23 05:21

    Tutu is one man who has never ever changed his tack. He was opposed to the injustices of the past and also now condems them. Witmense in SA sal nog vir hom 'n monument oprig.

  • Anon - 2010-07-23 11:02

    I never liked the guy, i'm not going to lie now. I resented how he attacked Zuma and spoke badly of our government to the media both local and international. He has always been a Mbeki man and one of the poeple who wanted Mbeki to stay on as president forever really. .I say good riddance.

  • Peace love respect! - 2010-07-23 13:11

    Mr Tutu is an example of what all South Africans must aspire to be!!

    Colour blind and truly supportive of all South Africans, with a clear and common goal being a better life for all.

    Only two people white or black deserve this honour; Mr Tutu and of course MADIBA!!!

    Enjoy your retirement and peace Mr Tutu, as I am sure you will, as your hart and mind has always been righteous leaving no other outcome, but peace and love.

    PS: Did it ever occur to you saying he was an Mbeki man, that he just not believe in the criminals would replaced him? I truly believe he had the best of all South Africans at heart!

  • Jacobus - 2010-07-24 13:27

    Godspeed Mr. Tutu, you will be missed.

  • Snati - 2010-07-27 02:04

    Siyabonga Tata, I remember those times we matched behinde you and Mama Winnie in Potchessroom Road,towards Regina Mudi and many other roads to freedom(UDF,COSAS,INKHATA(beforeIFP).You explained about Tata Madiba needing looking after,I head you! you have always being there,the rest are not. you are an ELDER! I know who called for this honorable position to established. May this dyslexic blonde Virgin boy be blessed! But Tata May the One whom you confessed to live for be seen in all you have done. Yours in Yeshua the Messiach!!!!!!

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