Cleric and anti-apartheid activist, Dr Allan Boesak, says Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is the embodiment of faith and the struggle for social justice.

The Arch is today celebrating his 90th birthday with a thanksgiving service at the St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town. Boesak says Tutu became an inspiration for young people.

Dr. Allan Boesak preaches at Desmond Tutu’s birthday Eucharist service:

Messages of support have been pouring in for Tutu. President Cyril Ramaphosa in a written message says the Arch has been a constant voice of conscience to the government for nearly three decades guiding them to do better by the people of South Africa.

“The President expresses his deep regard to Archbishop Tutu for a life that has been well lived in honesty and intergrity and service to humanity in South Africa and globally,” says acting presidential spokesperson, Tyrone Seale.

During a special thanksgiving service at the St George’s Cathedral, fellow cleric Boesak, who described the Arch as his friend, said he showed exceptional leadership in society and in the church.

“Your leadership at the South African Council of Churches was a wake-up call for the church, as it was an alarm bell ringing for the apartheid regime. After vicious repressions of the 1960s, after the Sharpville Massacre, they thought they had silenced the church, but God had other plans and you came and you woke up the church, you shook the church up.”

His daughter Reverend Cannon Mpho says they are grateful for the love and prayerful support.

“He could not have done all he has done without the support and prayers of so many people, of course incredibly grateful, it is not everyone who gets to say, here I am at 60 years old and I get to see both of my parents  and see them holding hands enjoying each other’s company, I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Special thanksgiving service at St George’s Cathedral for Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu: 

The birthday comes as the mural of the Arch by artist Brian Rolfe is being repaired in the city centre. It was defaced with derogatory words penned on it.

But like any other birthday, the church sang the most famous song, for the Arch.