The former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town who once fought apartheid alongside good friend Nelson Mandela, announced he will be leaving the public eye after his 79th birthday in October.
Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and advocate of AIDS prevention said in a statement on Thursday that he would step down to sip tea and spend more time with his wife and family. He also plans to “travel to visit my children and grandchildren rather than to conferences and conventions and university campuses.” The first black African to be appointed to archbishop suffered from prostate cancer in the 90s, but reported a full recovery.
According to The New York Times:
“I have been very fortunate to have been given opportunities to contribute in a small way to the development of our new democratic, exhilarating, exasperating nation, and to have traveled the world as a representative, first of our collective apartheid anxiety, and later, of our promise and our hope,” he said. “The time has now come to slow down.”
His partial withdrawal from public life is unlikely to change the factional maneuvering within the governing African National Congress, South African political analysts said, but it could diminish one of the nation’s most trenchant moral voices at a time of broad political and economic challenges.
Explaining his decision on Thursday, he said that “instead of growing old gracefully, at home with my family, reading and writing and praying and thinking, too much of my time has been spent at airports and in hotels.”
And he reserved praise for his wife. “Marrying Leah was the best decision I made in my life,” he said. “Now I will have the time to serve her hot chocolate in bed in the mornings, as any doting husband should.”
We completely understand you, Mr. Tutu sir! There’s nothing better than growing old with the ones you love; it truly is life’s greatest gift.