Former First Lady, Graca Machel told friends of Tutu to reflect on how they can individually become better gifts like the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
Machel paid tribute to Tutu at a memorial service that was hosted by the Archbishop Tutu IP Trust and Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation in Cape Town on Thursday afternoon.
Other close family friends and friends of Tutu included former Ireland President, Marry Robinson and Public Works and Infrastructure Development Minister, Patricia de Lille.
Machel challenged the guests and friends of Tutu to make a difference like the late Archbishop.
She says, “I just want to make one appeal, let’s be intentional. Saturday we are going to lay Arch to rest. Before he goes down to that mother earth which is going to embrace him, each one of us must look inside, reflect and say what can I do individually to become a better gift to the world as Arch was?”
VIDEO: Machel addresses an intimate evening to celebrate the Arch’s life:
‘Don’t forget about him’
De Lille, a close friend of the Tutus says she hopes that those who are paying tribute to him will not forget about him soon
She says, “As much as we have remembered about Arch, what he said and what he has done will be a shame and an indictment on all of us if after the funeral on Saturday, we all just carry on with our lives and forget about this great man.”
“We have to in our country again pick up the baton where Archbishop left off, not for ourselves but for our children and the next generations to come. One thing that I have learnt about the Archbishop is that talk is cheap, you must walk the talk. You must not only speak against the injustice but you must act,” De Lille adds.
The Former President of Ireland Marry Robinsons praised Tutu’s leadership style when he was chairing the group of the Elders which she has been part of.
Robinson says, “I have spoken publicly about how much Arch enjoyed to be the first Chair of the Elders when we were brought together by Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel in 2007. He took it very seriously.”
“ He wanted us to speak independently, to speak and work for peace, for human rights but to do it with love, to do it with Elders and we learnt so much in that. But he also spoke publicly about how much she enjoyed being bossy,” she says.
The Chief of Mvezo and African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament, Mandla Mandela says Tutu was someone who spoke truth to power.
Mandela says, “We shall tell his story to generations of our children and grandchildren as a true man of God who spoke truth to power without fear of reprisal. We bid him farewell and express our gratitude for a life well lived and a struggle well fought.”
In the vide below, Mandela addresses the memorial service:
Truth to power
Anti-Apartheid Activist, Allan Boesak says Tutu could speak truth to power in his own way.
He reflected on one of his encounters with Western powers during apartheid.
Boesak says, “In the early 1980s , 1981, 1985 when we were in the midst of a campaign for sanctions and divestment and boycotts of the South African Apartheid regime and the West decided- all the leaders in Washington DC and in London and in Berlin that they would not support our campaign, Desmond Tutu got so angry. He said I think for my party, the West can go to hell. So, yes he could speak truth to power in his own way.”
Other Speakers included Musician Jonathan Butler, Zelda Le Grange, the Dean of the St George’s Cathedral, Michael Weeder and other religious leaders who paid tribute to Tutu.
A lighter moment was shared by close family friend and representative Mamphela Ramphele. She recalls how the late Archbishop played a major role in the changing of her dress sense.
Ramphele says, “Today I want to share with you something that might irritate you- why is this woman likes to dress up like this? When I came to Cape Town as a tomboy and I used to wear just anything I like and he sat me down and said ‘dearie I think your wardrobe could do with an upgrade.’ And after that he would monitor to see if there was progress on this project. And so we are dealing with somebody who was deeply human and deeply caring.”