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Photo: The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation

The World Pays Tribute To The Arch, Desmond Tutu

South African Nobel Laureate, Desmond Tutu, the anti-apartheid leader and 'moral giant', who died this past weekend at the age of 90, will be memorialized this week.

There was a moment during the World Cup Kick-off Concert, held just before the event sent South Africa into an international soccer frenzy in the summer of 2010, when Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu took to the stage of Soweto’s Orlando Stadium. A Bafana Bafana beanie and scarf draped over his five-feet-five-inches-frame, he addressed the crowd: “Friends, before I tell you who is going to be in the final,” he teased, adding his trademark high-pitched ‘ha-ha-ha’ giggle, “I think we’ve got to pay a wonderful tribute to the man to whom we owe all of this.”

Tutu then led the crowd in cheers to Nelson Mandela, who was at his Houghton home, about 12 miles miles away. “Halala Rolihlahla Mandela!” he cried out, eliciting cheers louder than those received by Shakira, John Legend or Alicia Keys, who had performed that night. As Tutu’s voice filled the sky of the open-air stadium, rousing every single person in the stadium to join him, there was no doubt that, although a notoriously early-sleeper, the late former president heard the joyful noise.

It’s one of the many endearing moments in the long life of The Arch, as he was fondly known. Moments that will now, in the wake of his passing, become treasured memories and reminders of his unwavering appreciation for life itself. In tributes that have been paid to the late Nobel Laureate, all have mentioned his winning effervescence alongside his long-standing commitment to South Africa’s fight for liberation.

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