Tutus renew wedding vows on 60th anniversary

3 July 2015

It was love all around for Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu – fondly dubbed the Arch – and his wife Leah as they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows on Thursday at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town.

It was their daughter, Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu who presided over the part of the ceremony where the couple renewed their vows.

“Do you take Desmond as your lawfully wedded husband, for better or for worse?” she asked her mother, as she stifled her laughter.

“For better and for better!” joked Leah as the couple broke out in giggles.

“Goggo, thank you very much,” Tutu told his wife. “Without you, I will not be anywhere near where God has taken me. I owe all that I am to you. Even if you put up placards that say ‘You are entitled to your wrong opinion’.”

In attendance

Tutu’s successor as Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, was in attendance alongside Reverend Canon Professor Barney Pityana, and the cathedral’s Reverend Michael Weeder.

Pityana threw back to when he first met the couple, visiting their home during apartheid. “Their home became a place of gathering and sharing,” he said. “We saw at close quarters the real sense of what it meant to be a loving home.”

Weeder read out a letter from Thabo Makgoba, the current Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town who is abroad and could not make it. “Gogo of the province and to Baba. you have been a channel of God’s richest blessings,” wrote Makgoba. “I am so sorry to be away overseas for this loving occasion.”

Well wishes

The couple received many well wishes from social media platforms from across the globe.

Anthea Herbert, who goes by the handle ‏@antheasherbert on Twitter, described the milestone as a “sacrament made visible through their life together. God’s smiling down on you from heaven”.

“Arch and Mrs Arch are the great example of true love! Congratulations to them and wish them many more years,” wrote Sango ‏(@mavula_31) on Twitter.

Evans Mathibe (@EvansMathibe) tweeted: “You are giving us young married couples hope that it’s possible to truly grow old with your better half.”

Love and advocacy

Tutu met Leah Nomalizo at a college, where she was a teacher. They married on 2 July 1955. They have four children – Trevor Thamsanqa Tutu, Theresa Thandeka Tutu, Naomi Nontombi Tutu and Mpho Andrea Tutu – and seven grandchildren.

Tutu he was a teacher too. But following the introduction of Bantu education, he decided to join the church.

In 1978, he was appointed the general secretary of the South African Council of Churches, where he became vocal about unjust racial laws. He climbed the ladder in the church: in 1985, Tutu was appointed the Bishop of Johannesburg; in 1986, he was chosen as the Archbishop of Cape Town, the head of the Anglican Church in South Africa – hence his affectionate nickname, “The Arch”.

He was the first black person to hold the position, the highest in the South African Anglican Church. In 1987, he was also named the president of the All Africa Conference of Churches, a position he held until 1997.

Tutu used his position to call for equality, and was a vociferous campaigner for human rights. In 1996, Nelson Mandela appointed him chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the body set up to investigate human rights violations during the apartheid.

Source: SAinfo reporter