Tutu 'hopeful' Dalai Lama will get visa
Cape Town - Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is "very hopeful" that his close friend and Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, will be granted a visa to attend his 80th birthday celebrations, according to a report on Friday.
In an interview with The Cape Times, Tutu said the government would not want to "shoot themselves in the foot" by turning down the application.
Tutu turns 80 in less than a month's time, on October 7, and described the wait for the status of the visa as a little "ungracious".
"It's only a few weeks left and you need to know, prepare; what's going to happen if he doesn't come," he told the newspaper.
"I mean it's so sad to think that we have had a kind of experience of repression that we have had in that we should kowtow to a hugely repressive regime that can dictate to us about freedom and things of that kind."
Peace and compassion
Tutu said the Dalai Lama was not entering the country to encourage people to fight but rather to speak about peace and compassion.
The Tibetan leader had one of the largest followings in the world, he said.
According to the report, the visa application was received by the department of home affairs more than a week ago after various attempts.
Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for the department of international relations and co-operation, confirmed to the paper that the application was being considered.
In 2009, South Africa declined the Dalai Lama's request to attend a peace conference connected to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, apparently fearing it would upset its major trading partner China.
The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since 1959. He fled there after a failed uprising against the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
Both Tutu and the Dalai Lama are Nobel peace prize laureates.
In June, Tutu invited the Dalai Lama to attend his 80th birthday celebrations in Cape Town. The Dalai Lama accepted the invitation.