A life-sized bronze statue of the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has been unveiled in Cape Town. The statue forms part of the Long March to Freedom exhibition, which honours notable leaders in society including the Khoi and the San Leaders, Zulu Warriors and Kings, to struggle icons such as Nelson Mandela, Oliver and Adelaide Thambo.
CEO of the National Heritage Project Company (NHPC), Dali Thambo said that the inclusion of the Arch in the exhibition was of utmost importance as well as honouring him in bronze so that he is never forgotten especially for his personality and cheer.
“His brilliance of mind and determination needed to be represented and he needed to have a prime spot. We intend to keep all of these ancestors in the public memory and mind and we cannot go forward without acknowledging the role they played and their example
Thambo said that the establishment of the NHPC, which is his brainchild, came up when he wanted to honour his father Oliver, who spiritually led him to honouring all struggle heroes and heroines in the country.
“One day I went to my father’s grave and said to him, ‘you know dad, there is no single statue of you in South Africa and I am planning to do one’. That evening I got a message from him saying ‘no Dali, don’t just honour me, honour all of them who served. And so I set out on this journey and recruited a lady named Sarah Heins, who is a great heritage expert and together we went forward; Baleka Mbethe and the National Lottery said go for it.”
“It was Parlo Jordan who offered his historical expertise to make this exhibition alongside a few other professors from various South African universities. Because we wanted to make sure that although we could only do so many to begin with, we wanted to ensure that they were worthy of being honoured of working together representing a collective leadership that we’ve had over 350 years of generational struggle.” Thambo said.
According to Thambo , as much as the Arch was a tiny man, he was also a global activist for peace and social justice. He further referred to the Arch as an individual who in so many ways inspired many people from one end of the earth to the other.
“Like many of these icons here, I knew him, he was my uncle but he was also an iconic figure that the whole world accepted. In our struggle he played a very fundamental role and so it was important that he walks amongst his comrades and friends whom he struggled with.”
“The Arch’s morality and values need to be kept or archived so that three hundred years from now, our youth will know that these were the leaders who took us across the treacherous paths of mountains and values to our liberations. And although they lived a long time ago, these are their statutes in bronze” he said.