Desmond Tutu deserves more honours in his lifetime – Dali Tambo

Pupils attend a naming ceremony in honour of Anglican cleric and human rights campaigner Desmond Tutu.
Pupils attend a naming ceremony in honour of Anglican cleric and human rights campaigner Desmond Tutu.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has given South Africans more to live for‚ during his lifetime of commitment to theology and human rights‚ a top Johannesburg school said on Thursday as it honoured the clergyman.

At a ceremony naming the Gate House Quad at St John’s College after the Nobel peace prize laureate‚ the school praised Tutu for his “valuable” lessons and contributions to the liberation of the country.

“He reminded us that race is a pigmentation of our imagination‚” said the school’s chairman of council‚ Dr Jon Patrocios.

He said the quadrangle is a place where both teachers and learners would go to in order to “reflect”.

“For decades to come‚ we must remember that Tutu has given us so much more to live for‚” he said.

Headmaster Paul Edey said the school was striving to be a “truly” African institution. “As a school‚ we are examining our past and we are building a better future‚” he said.

The private school‚ situated in Houghton‚ Johannesburg‚ was opened in 1898. Its mission statement places a focus on nurturing pupils with the potential to be “rightly trained in body‚ mind and character and who serve God well”.

Dali Tambo‚ son of the late former ANC president Oliver Tambo‚ said about the naming of the quad: “It’s a beautiful thing”.

“It’s part of social education... The heart of social cohesion is understanding each other’s past and understanding each other’s journeys through life‚” said Tambo‚ a television personality who also works in the heritage sector.

He said Tutu has played a major role in the liberation of the people of South Africa. “[This ceremony] is a small thing‚ but it has great significance. I congratulate him and the college for having made this initiative and we hope that there will be many more honours for him while he is still with us.”

Tutu‚ now 86 years old‚ has lived with prostate cancer for two decades and has been in and out of hospital in recent years. He lives in the Western Cape with his wife‚ Leah.

In a letter he wrote to the school‚ which was read out by the headmaster‚ Tutu said he was humbled “as I give consent for this to be done”.

Nomsa Daniels‚ on behalf of the Tutu family‚ thanked the school‚ adding: “We are particularly humbled by all the loving and kind words said about him‚ especially the recognition of him as an outspoken activist‚ as a man of God and also as a man of warmth and love and humour.”

“We hope that the boys who attend the school will come to embody many of the values and principles that he fought for.”