Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has praised his wife, Leah, for her support in the 57 years they have been married.
“We get the glory, whereas the credit should go to others and I want to pay a very, very warm tribute to the mother of my children who has been an incredible, fantastic support,” he said.
He thanked Leah for her vigorous efforts to encourage him to always speak his mind, a skill which, he said, had sometimes got him into trouble.
Apartheid-era police minister Louis le Grange even said of Tutu: “The trouble with Bishop Tutu is that he talks too much.”
The retired archbishop was speaking at the launch of the Ubuntu in the Home programme in Cape Town.
He recalled one of the many occasions he asked his wife for advice, at the time of her arrest in 1988 for “an alleged traffic offence”.
She was apparently handcuffed and paraded through the streets of Joburg.
“I asked Leah: ‘Do you think I should shut up?’…
“I’ll never forget her response. She said to me: ‘I’d much rather you be happy on Robben Island than be outside and forced to keep quiet.’ ”
Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, has been an active campaigner for human rights for many decades.
He seemed very much in love with Leah as they walked into the banqueting hall of the Cape Town civic centre yesterday. He carried Leah’s handbag and led her through the crowd. They cuddled and joked as photographers flocked to their table.
The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, together with the SA Faith and Family Institute, launched a programme yesterday to combat domestic violence through the use of religious leaders.
A pilot project will run from until April to train at least 20 religious leaders in supporting women in abusive relationships.
The plan was to help leaders contextualise easily misinterpreted scriptures and teachings about relationships and power.
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille praised the initiative.
She said it would not only “break the silence” about abuse, but would also rid the stigma of abuse within religious settings. – Sapa