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WATCH: Vilakazi Street pays homage to #DesmondTutu

Published Dec 26, 2021


Soweto – Archbishop Desmond Tutu's home in Orlando West, Soweto was a hive of activity on Sunday afternoon, as members of the public came to pay their respect to the late icon.

Tutu, who passed away in Cape Town at the age of 90, was a force to be reckoned with both politically and religiously.

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Some of the work he was respected for includes his participation in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission held in the 90s, where victims of Apartheid shared gruesome testimony about the brutal attacks they had endured at the hands of security forces.

Tutu’s neighbour Paula Majola sweeps outside his home in Orlando West, Soweto.

One of the local residents who shared fond memories of Tutu and his family was his neighbour and guest house owner, Paula Majola.

Majola says she inherited the house across the street from her grandparents, who moved into the area in 1934.

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"I met the Tutu family when they came from their missionary house to come and build here, on what we know today as Vilakazi Street. Both of them (Desmond and Leah) were my second family. They motivated and supported me.  Whenever they renovated here and some of the building material was left over, they would tell the builders to take it across the street. That was their indirect way of telling me that I should do something, and I renovated my house," she said.

Paula Majola, Archbishop Desmond Tutu's next neighbour in Soweto gives a personal account on how the Tutu's helped her family when they first moved in to the neighborhood. VIDEO: Noni Mokati/IOL Politics

Also paying her respects was Randburg resident Zonokuhle Mhlongo, who said, "He was honourable. I've learnt from him that one must have ubuntu and to care for everyone; it doesn't matter the race or the gender."

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The youth also used the opportunity to speak about what Tutu meant to them.

Rea Mabozo (10)

Rea Mabozo (10) and Kea Mthiyane (11) said they didn't know Tutu but had seen in the news that he passed away.

"I will go home today to Google and learn more about who he was," Mabozo said.

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Khanyo Zondo (13) on the other hand was more knowledgeable about the philanthropist saying, "I know him as a Nobel Prize winner; I know him helping people. I also know him as a church person."

Visitors walk along Vilakazi Street

And in true Vilakazi Street style, the popular Sakhumzi next door and Vuyo's restaurant across the street, were packed with patrons who took advantage of the Boxing Day public holiday.

Some of them expressed how proud they were to be able to enjoy the freedom that struggle icons such as Nelson Mandela, Tutu and many others had fought so hard for. Not only for themselves but their children, too.

A plaque placed outside Tutu’s home. Picture: Timothy Barnard/ANA

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Desmond Tutu