Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s remarks to President Barack Obama at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre in Cape Town – 30 June 2013

It is a very great honour to welcome the President of the USA and his beautiful family to SA, even at a sombre time for us South Africans.

It is a special joy to welcome this President to South Africa, to Africa, the continent of his forebears, the cradle of humanity. Mercifully I don’t have to compete against the First Lady doing push-ups in public.

Mr President, when you become 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 celebrations in Chicago. You won and we won. And you repeated the feat when the odds were stacked against you.

Welcome Home. Thank you and the American people for the funds that have helped us in South Africa and in other parts of Africa to combat TB, HIV and AIDS and Malaria. This Youth Centre is run by the HIV Centre of UCT, funded by the US PEPFAR. Stellenbosch has a TB Centre funded in part by PEPFAR.

Just this week we rejoiced when we heard that HIV infections in infants had dropped by a whopping 63%, in very large measure due to US financial support. Thank you.

As you have been here before, to Africa, you have heard us speak of something called ubuntu, your success is our success, your failure whether you like it or not, is our failure. And so we want to show you that we pray for you to be a great success.

“We want you to be known as having brought peace to the world, especially as one who brought an end to the anguish to all in the Middle East. We pray you will be known as having brought peace to all the regions where there has been strife and peace and no need for Guantanamo Bay detention centre. We are proud of you. You belong to us.

Thank you for coming.

God bless you