Tutu welcomes Obama to HIV centre

05 July 2013

ARCHBISHOP Desmond Tutu welcomed President Obama to his HIV centre in Cape Town on Sunday, during the President's visit to South Africa.

Speaking at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre, Archbishop Tutu said that it was "a very big honour" to welcome President Obama, "even at such a sombre time for us South Africans", an apparent reference to the former President Nelson Mandela, who is nearing the end of his life ( News, 28 June).

Archbishop Tutu continued: "Mr President, when you became the first black incumbent of the White House, you don't know what you did for our psyches. My wife sat in front of the TV with tears running down her face as she watched the celebration with you in Chicago. You won. And we won. And you repeated the feat when the odds were stacked against you."

Archbishop Tutu said that he was praying for President Obama "to be a great success. We want you to be known as having brought peace to the world, especially to have brought an end to the anguish of all in the Middle East."

President Obama paid tribute to the work of the HIV Centre, and highlighted the United States' work with South Africa to tackle AIDS. "We have the possibility of achieving an AIDS-free generation and making sure everybody in our human family is able to enjoy their lives and raise families, and succeed in maintaining their health here in Africa and around the world," he said.

The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday that a spokesman for Westminster Abbey had confirmed that discussions were taking place with the South African High Commission about holding a memorial service at the Abbey after Mr Mandela's death. He is being prayed for daily at the Abbey.

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