Cape Town - After an outpouring of support, prayers and a world class team of doctors at his side, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s daughter said the family was confident that he would make a full recovery.
Tutu was admitted to hospital on Tuesday to treat a persistent infection and has been in hospital since.
On Thursday, his daughter, Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu, said her father was fortunate that he had excellent doctors.
“We recognise that he is privileged that he has excellent doctors taking care of him. We know that not everyone has access to medical care and we are grateful for that. His doctors are absolutely world class.”
She said the doctors treating her 83-year-old father had chosen to “gift their services” to Tutu.
The family and Tutu have been overwhelmed with the support they have received, Mpho said, adding that “he is being well-cared for and in good spirits.”
She said her father is receiving medical attention for an infection that is “below the belt” and is in hospital to receive antibiotic treatment intravenously.
Tutu has been living with prostate cancer for 15 years and Mpho said despite the infection being below the belt, it was not in his prostate.
“His doctors are satisfied that his cancer is staying dormant and under control.”
The Nobel Peace laureate was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000.
Last year, he had to cancel his plans to visit Rome for the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Tutu was on a new treatment regimen and his body had reacted to it negatively at the time.
In 2013 he was also hospitalised but his doctors found no new malignant tumours.
The duration of his stay is not yet clear, with Mpho saying he could be staying in hospital for three to five days, but that it could be longer.
“We are confident that he will recover well,” she said.
Tutu is one of South Africa’s most outspoken people and continuously fights for the rights of oppressed people.
Tutu was ordained in 1961 and was the chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings that began in 1995. The hearings hoped to promote reconciliation and forgiveness among victims and perpetrators of apartheid.
His daughter affirmed this, saying her father fights for any “cause consistent with the Christian commitment to love”.
Mpho remained calm despite the horde of cameras and reporters that were crammed into the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation’s offices at the Waterfront.
Her high spirits for her father’s recovery were evident as she joked, saying her father is not as young as he used to be.
“My father is not quite as young as he looks. He can’t attend all the meetings he is invited to anymore. I am not saying he is dropping off the scene, but that he is taste-testing the word ‘no’.”
She said her father slowing down is “only good and appropriate for a man his age” and her mother is one of the people that appreciates that more than any other person.
“His yeses may not be as sparsely sprinkled, but his prayers are still there.”
She said because of all the prayers and support the family had been receiving they had little time to feel distressed.
“It has been incredible, I don’t think I had space to worry.”
President Jacob Zuma, mayor Patricia de Lille and ordinary South Africans were among those that wished the retired archbishop well.
The news of his illness gained international media attention and was trending on social media until on Thursday.
Mpho said despite falling sick her father still wants the Mandela Day activities planned by his organisation to go ahead.
She encouraged people to join them.