Tutus celebrate vows with love and laughter
Celebrating 60 years of marriage, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah, yesterday stood before their daughter, Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu.
The congregation at the Holy Cross Anglican Church in Orlando West, Soweto, giggled as she led her parents in the reaffirmation of their vows, first asking her father: “Dad, do you acknowledge Mum as your wedded wife?” Tutu replied: “I do.”
After asking her mother the same question, the couple read their vows.
When it was all done, one of the country’s favourite couples sealed their renewed vows with a kiss. When photographers asked them to kiss some more, Leah (83) said: “We have been kissing for 60 years, people, and you still want us to do it again!”
The elderly couple earlier joined in singing and dancing to a lively gospel song by the Soweto Gospel Choir.
Yesterday was the second leg of their anniversary celebrations. The first (on Thursday) was held at the St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, where the couple also renewed their vows.
Among the Tutus’ guests in Soweto were former president Thabo Mbeki, whom Tutu (83) commended in his short speech for his mediation efforts in Sudan. Seated next to Mbeki was Graça Machel.
After the ceremony, the couple carefully negotiated a ramp with their walking sticks.
When asked where they would be going on honeymoon, Leah pointed at her stick and asked: “How would we go on honeymoon when I am looking like this?”
This week they had some sage – and humorous – advice on love and relationships for the rest of us.
“One would think that loving relationships would be a breeze. But regrettably, they are not.
“There have been occasions that some of us have felt moved to put up notices in the house proclaiming: ‘You are entitled to your WRONG opinion.’ But those of us with a strong sense that our opinions are seldom wrong, have never felt threatened or diminished by these notices. “Many have suggested it helps in relationships for the parties to know ‘who wears the pants’. But this does not work in our case. There have been long periods of our marriage in which neither of us has worn pants in public.
“Laughter is a key enabler; the ability to laugh with each other, at each other and at ourselves. When we take ourselves too seriously and lose the ability to see the humour in who we are and what we do, we lose touch with our own humanity – and, therefore, with each other.
“Our marriage to each other 60 years ago affirmed our love of and commitment to each other. We were sprightlier and easier on the eye then than we now are, and have experienced our fair share of turbulence along the way.
“But our love is undiminished.”
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