Thursday, October 12, 2006

A bit of Zapiro for Tutu's birthday

Pretoria, South Africa

06 October 2006 01:55

Archbishop Desmond Tutu received an original Zapiro cartoon as a present for his 75th birthday at the University of South Africa (Unisa) on Friday.

Upon receiving the gift, Tutu said: "I am always intrigued because, if you will notice, Zapiro always draws my nose peeping into my mouth.

"A very big thank you to the [Desmond Tutu Diversity] Trust and university. I am deeply touched and lack words to express my appreciation."

Unisa vice-chancellor Barney Pityana said it was a privilege hosting a man held in high esteem the world over.

Judy Henning, the chief operating officer of Unisa library, handed over the cartoon.

"We admire you, and your achievements have reached across barriers of society in terms of class, race and religion to restore humanity," she said.

An exhibition -- organised by the trust -- containing quotations from Tutu's speeches, pictures and books, was held at the Unisa library in Tutu's honour.

Tutu said he was bowled over and deeply touched by it. While viewing it he was flanked by a throng of students. He greeted them and gave hugs to some.

On what he would like to achieve in his remaining years, he said: "I would like to see the achievement of peace in Darfur, Zimbabwe and in the world over where there are trouble spots. Peace. Children and people living happy and peacefully."

On Saturday the trust will host a black-tie gala dinner to celebrate his 75th birthday at the Sandton Convention Centre. Former president Nelson Mandela and Tokyo Sexwale are among the dignitaries expected to attend.

He said of his birthday celebrations: "People expected me to die as a baby. I had polio. I then had TB when I was 13, and they thought I was going to die again. Then I was diagnosed with cancer. The years after that are all a bonus."

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