Anti-Apartheid Hero Tutu Quits Public Life

The cleric plans to celebrate the day – which also marks his 79th birthday – at a private event with friends and relatives in Cape Town.

In July, the former archbishop announced he would be “slowing down” after his schedule had grown more punishing.

“Instead of growing old gracefully with my family, reading and writing and praying and thinking, too much of my time has been spent at airports and in hotels,” said Archbishop Tutu.

However, his office told Sky News that he would continue his work with The Elders – a group appointed by Nelson Mandela to tackle the world’s most pressing problems.

Campaigning work for The Elders has seen him travel extensively to the Middle East, Darfur and Zimbabwe.

Ordained a priest of the Anglican Church in 1960 at the age of 30, Tutu used his clerical status to denounce the injustices of apartheid, and he was arrested repeatedly for his outspokenness.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, and was named the first black archbishop of Cape Town two years later.

He used his new international stature to broaden the anti-apartheid struggle.

During the first post-apartheid elections in 1994, Tutu coined the phrase “Rainbow Nation” to describe his country.

He was subsequently named chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which for 30 months heard victims testify about the atrocities committed during the apartheid era.

He retired as archbishop 14 years ago, but maintained a heavy public schedule. Sky News