Preya Moodley talks about the day she received a letter from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Picture: Supplied
Preya Moodley talks about the day she received a letter from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Picture: Supplied

My letter from the Arch when I was 9

By Nonhlanhla Nozizwe Hlatshwayo Time of article published Jan 6, 2022

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Durban: Phoenix resident Preya Moodley holds a personal memory with the Archbishop Desmond Tutu after exchanging letters with him when she was a child.

Tutu passed away on 26 December. He was laid to rest at the weekend. His funeral was held at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town. It also happened to be the day that Moodley turned 38 years old.

She recalled a time when Tutu replied to a letter she had written to him in 1993. She was nine years old.

“It was during the time when we were learning about apartheid, and he had just received the Nobel Peace Prize. I really admired him and I wanted to congratulate him not just on the award but also on the contribution he had made to our country and its people,” she said.

She said she wrote the letter in September in 1993 and Tutu responded in December.

“I didn't even expect to get a reply from the Archbishop because I knew he was a busy man but he took the time to reply. That touched my heart. I lived my life for the better. I have carried his life lessons into adulthood to treat all people fairly with respect and to value every individual irrespective of race, age, gender, and religion,” she said.

Moodley said in the letter Tutu shared his excitement about receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

“He also mentioned that the prize was not only for him, but all the many wonderful people in this country who worked so hard for peace and justice, so that all people will live equally and fairly,” she said.

Moodley said there was love and warmth in Tutu’s letter. She said although she did not get the chance to meet him, she learned through the letter that Tutu was a genuine person who had everyone’s best interests at heart.

Tutu is widely known for his contribution as an anti-apartheid and a human rights activist.

He headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission during the transition from Apartheid to Democracy during the 1990s, he was also awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize.

“I was very sad to hear about his passing, this was a real loss to the entire world, not just South Africa, he was a beautiful soul,” she said.

She said it was sad to see what the state of Democracy had become today, 27 years later.

“What we see and hear today in our country does not reflect what people like the Archbishop stood for. It seems like we do not value them and their contributions to this country.

“We all need to try and be more like the Arch. If only we could practice his values, society would be a better place and everyone could live peacefully together,” she said.

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