Ex-UN chief to give S.Africa's Tutu birthday lecture

Published September 20, 2013

| AFP

South African Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu celebrates his 82nd birthday next month with a series of charitable events and former UN secretary general Kofi Annan will be delivering his annual peace lecture.

On October 7 Annan will follow in the footsteps of Graca Machel -- humanitarian activist and wife of Nelson Mandela -- and the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan spiritual leader gave his friend's inaugural birthday lecture via a video link-up, after he was denied a visa to enter South Africa.

Pretoria has increasingly close ties with Beijing, which considers the Dalai Lama a violent separatist.

Before the speech Tutu, a retired archbishop, will donate a sports field to a school in Cape Town, and hand out gifts to the elderly.

The diminutive clergyman will also use the day to spread the message of caring for the environment.

Tutu rose to fame in the 1980s as a vocal opponent of South Africa's white-minority apartheid regime.

A critic of the African National Congress government, Tutu remains one of the prominent moral authorities of modern-day South Africa.

His wife of 58 years, Leah, will celebrate her 80th birthday on October 14.

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