- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: Archbishop Desmond Tutu launches book on eve of his 80th birthday
- Date: 7th October 2011
- Summary: CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (OCTOBER 6, 2011) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIOR OF CATHEDRAL INTERIOR OF CATHEDRAL ROCK BAND U2'S BONO WITH TUTU'S DAUGHTER MPHO IN AUDIENCE
- Embargoed: 22nd October 2011 13:00
- Location: South Africa, South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz,People
- Reuters ID: LVA22ZALVO7Y3VO4G4PWA30UZJVU
- Story Text: Celebrities and supporters packed Cape Town's main cathedral on Thursday (October 6) for the launch of a biography of Nobel peace prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
The book launch was held on the eve of Tutu's 80th birthday.
It was mired in controversy following the denial of a South Africa visa to fellow Nobel peace prize winner the Dalai Lama.
An angry Tutu criticized the African National Congress (ANC)-led government over the visa denial, calling it "worse than the apartheid government" during a news conference on Tuesday (October 4).
Rock star Bono led tributes to Tutu.
"And here's Archbishop Tutu, the guy's tasked with some of the world's oldest, thorniest problems, the guy facing more pressure than anyone to perform and despite all of that, in fact because of all of that, he takes time for silence," Bono told the audience which included Tutu's family.
"This is his outrage and that's what makes Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela one of the great one, two punches in the universe. Mandela struck apartheid from the ground, the structures, the institutions, the visible evil, but Tutu hit it from the air - the attitude, the atmosphere, invisible with powerful evils. What a great one, two punch," added Bono.
The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, cancelled a trip to South Africa planned for this week that had put Pretoria in a bind between its biggest trading partner China and Tutu, one of its modern heroes.
The Dalai Lama's office said on Tuesday (October 4) he cancelled the trip intended for him to attend Tutu's 80th birthday celebration because South Africa, which has had his application paperwork for weeks, had not issued him a visa on time.
Last week, China agreed to $2.5 billion in investment projects with South Africa during a visit by South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to Beijing.
Critics say the government buckled down under pressure from China which deems the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist.
The Dalai Lama went to South Africa in 1996 to visit then President Mandela who told Beijing it was Pretoria's right to decide whom it allows into the country.
South Africa exports about $5.5 billion a year in minerals to China and Africa's largest economy has been increasingly a destination for Chinese foreign direct investment.
China last year invited South Africa to join the BRIC grouping, a diplomatic coup for President Jacob Zuma. It was also seen by analysts as a Chinese stamp of approval for the country's role as a stepping stone to the African continent.
China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since Communist troops marched in 1950. It says its rule has brought much needed development to a poor and backward region.
A thanksgiving service will be held on Friday (October 7) to mark Tutu's birthday.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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