Africa, Countries

I’m proud of my Desmond

Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s most enduring legacy will surely be that his name has become part of our lexicon… and, like many a graduate, I’m proud of my Desmond.

Desmond, who has passed away at 90, was very visible in the Eighties and especially among the student community.

And while student buildings across the UK were renamed after Nelson Mandela his great friend Desmond was honoured at graduation ceremonies.

Where a 2:2 was (and still is) a Second Class Honours Second Grade.

Graduate with honours

Me and my Desmond: My 2:2

The third of four pass grades your Tutu student mixes work, pleasure, uni societies and politics.

The name caught on too in the world of soccer where naturally it has become shorthand for a 2-2 scoreline.

The anti-Apartheid icon’s passing will be marked by national mourning across South Africa.

And particularly in Johannesburg, the next nearest big city to his hometown of Klerksdorp in the Western Transvaal where was Bishop.

Where, of course, you can visit the Apartheid Museum, and learn what life was really like then in South Africa.

And Cape Town where he became Archbishop.

Freedom fighters

Standing proud: The Apartheid Museum

Tutu’s South African brothers and sisters will turn his memorial into a carnival.

But he and Mandela were the first to admit the debt they owe to the men and women freedom fighters on the Long Road to Freedom.

Men such as Amos who works as a waiter in Cradock grandee Lisa’s hotel Die Tuishuise & Victoria Manor in the Eastern Cape.

But who fought the good cause.

And did jail time and suffered under the yolk of the police.

But who humbly declared: ‘We weren’t afraid to die as long as we died in the struggle.’

The township

Xhanti and Co: Our gang in the township

Or Xhanti, who was South Africa’s Birdman of Alcatraz in solitary confinement.

But who now chases birdies on golf courses when he’s not showing tourists around the New Brighton township outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.

And the most challenged part of it, Red Location.

And, of course, it was Port Elizabeth when we visited but has now been Africanised as Gqberha (pronounced Kberha).

Of course that doesn’t do it nearly enough justice as it’s Xhosa, the Eastern Cape’s distinctive clicking language.

And a tongue our old friend and guide Seseko treated us all to on our travels throughout the Eastern Cape.

And which Mandela himself spoke.

The angel Mandela

And then there were three: With Siseko and Madiba

Madiba will have been the first angel to greet Desmond at the gates of heaven.

They were great pals… they just clicked.

Rest in Peace, Archbishop. I’m proud of my Desmond.



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