Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu laughs during an event in Cape Town in February. Picture: EPA/ Nic Bothma

The Arch is working three days a week and “he doesn’t do anything after 5pm”, says his son Trevor.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s son accepted an honorary award on behalf of his famous dad from the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) at its annual global convention this week.

He caused concern when he told delegates his father, a global icon of peace, couldn’t be there because he was “incapable of verbalising his feelings”.

Afterwards, he explained that his father, who is 85, tired easily and attended very few events.

The invitation to the convention came in October when his father “went through a really bad patch”, said Trevor, eldest child of Tutu and his wife Leah.

Tutu was hospitalised for two weeks in August and struggled with an infection the family didn’t want to identify.

Tutu had previously been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“He’s 85. He can’t party all night and be up at 8am in the morning. We try to keep him to three days of work a week and the rest of the time off.”

Before Trevor’s speech, the organisation played a video clip of Tutu, whose daughter Mpho married a woman, Marceline van Furth, in January.

In the footage, Tutu says: “I cannot worship a homophobic God. We should become a society where people are free to be who God made them to be”; and “I can’t imagine God will ever say: I will punish you because you are homosexual, and you ought to be heterosexual’.”

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Sunday Independent