Twitter and Facebook users wished Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu a happy 80th birthday on Friday, with jokes about the Dalai Lama's visa adding levity to the occasion.
“I don't get Tutu being angry because the Dalai Lama's visa has been refused. Surely the Lama can use his mastercard?” quipped Independent Group sports writer Kevin McCallum on Twitter.
According to a joke doing the rounds on Twitter and Facebook: “Dear Dalai, fly to Zim, walk over the border, no visa required, see u friday, regards Tutu.”
DJ and writer Charles Leonard dedicated Miles Davis's “Tutu” to “… the hippest, coolest 80-year-old!” on his Facebook page.
Zelda la Grange, longtime personal assistant to former president Nelson Mandela wrote in her personal capacity from the St George's Cathedral, where celebrations were held: “Happy Birthday Arch. We are honoured and humbled to call you ‘ours’ and we'll NEVER forget! We love u soooo much!”
News organisations such as the BBC, SAFM, AlJazeera and the Oprah magazine posted wishes and cartoonist Zapiro dedicated a cartoon of Tutu punching a hole through a binder marked “Secrecy” to mark his birthday.
The Dalai Lama cancelled his trip to South Africa for Tutu's birthday on Tuesday because his visa had not been granted yet. An angry Tutu said the ANC government was worse than the apartheid government because with apartheid that would at least have been expected.
Not being granted a visa earlier has been interpreted by some observers as being due to South Africa's trade links with China. The Dalai Lama, a Buddhist spiritual leader, is deemed a Tibetan separatist.
“Happy birthday Archbishop Desmond Tutu! Thank you for being real, a lil silly, jolly, honest and sincere! I adore you,” wrote Keitu Reid.
Uyandi Mbuli ended her birthday wish with: “It's okay Papa :) Our friends miss our birthdays too”.
Iamsuede posted a picture of a stuffed Llama toy saying “Here's that Dolly Llama you wanted”.
The Twitter feed of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory posted a picture of Tutu and Mandela and wrote #NelsonMandela tells Archbishop Desmond Tutu at his 75th birthday to “continue to be our voice of conscience”.
Tutu was born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, west of Johannesburg. - Sapa