Tutu remains thankful for the right to vote

ct Tutu 7406 AM.JPG inlsa Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Melanie Gosling

WHERE ever he goes Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu draws a crowd and yesterday was no exception when he arrived to cast his vote at the Milnerton polling station.

While he was besieged by journalists, voters snapped shots of “the Arch” with cellphones.

How did he feel about voting today compared to what he felt when he cast his first vote 20 years ago?

“I’m just glad we can vote. I’m thinking of Ukraine, I’m thinking of Sudan, all those things happening there. We can still vote relatively peacefully, isn’t it?”

Then he gave his signature high-pitched chuckle and added: “It’s wonderful, wonderful!”

Tutu, wearing his trademark black cap, walked slowly with his wife Leah up the steps of the hall at Milnerton High School, leaning on his walking stick but joking all the way.

“Ah, my ID, yes, here it is,” he said to the electoral officer, adding with a chuckle: “You like it?”

Holding hands the couple walked into the voting station, saying the electoral officials “feel sorry for us for being old”.

He greeted the first official in Afrikaans and the second in Xhosa, and then walked to the booth to cast his vote. He was fairly quick about making his two crosses, but then with his ballot papers in hand he wandered out heading the wrong way.

“No, the boxes are over there,” the journalists called out to him.

Shielding his eyes from the bright photographic lights he replied: “Oh okay, I’ll just wait for my wife. Come on ousie.”

Together they walked to the boxes, dropped their votes in, and then Tutu raised his hand and shouted: “Whoopee!”

Outside he said while many had become blasé about voting, he remained thankful for the right to do so and believed everyone should vote.

“It’s absolutely crucial. People died for this. People were imprisoned. People suffered, so we mustn’t waste it.”

Who did he vote for?

He laughed: “My vote is my secret.”


sign up