Archbishop and Mrs Tutu vote at home in local government election

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Mrs Leah Tutu have cast their votes in Local Government Election 2021. The couple voted at home during a brief visit by a delegation of Independent Election Commission officials.

The Archbishop turned 90-years-old this month. For nearly 63 of those years, he was denied the vote due to the racist policies of South Africa’s post-colonial and apartheid governments.

Acting chairperson of the Archbishop Tutu IP Trust, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, who co-ordinates the Archbishop’s Office, said the Arch and Mrs Tutu wouldn’t allow their relative frailty to get in the way of exercising their right to vote. 

“They are of a generation that felt the full impact of apartheid, and were denied the right to vote for most of their lives.

“They were too close to the struggle, and the Arch presided at too many funerals of struggle martyrs, to ever take this right for granted. They are acutely aware of the preciousness of being able to have a say in who should lead our government,” Dr Ramphele said.

She said Archbishop Tutu was fond of the old maxim (of disputed origin) that, in a democracy, people get the government (or leaders) they deserve.

“If you don’t participate in elections, you can’t expect complaining afterwards to fix much,” Dr Ramphele said.