Archbishop Emeritus and Freeman of the City of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu
Our birthday girl, Mama Leah Tutu
Reverend Mpho Tutu
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
It is an immense privilege to be here on this very significant day.
We wanted to find a fitting way in which to honour you, Mama Leah Tutu, on your special day.
I am certain that many of your own dreams have had to be deferred through the years because you had a bigger dream for our country.
I am certain that often weakness was not an option for you because you needed to be strong for your family, and your fellow countrymen.
Thank you for sharing your life and family with the nation.
Today we are here to say thank you for your sacrifices.
On 25 September last year, the City of Cape Town Council resolved to lease the Granary to the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation for use as a Peace Centre.
The Foundation wanted the Peace Centre as a place where they could sustain and advance their legacy-promoting programmes.
They also wanted to consolidate the positioning of Cape Town, the home of the Arch and Mama Leah, as a world capital for the intellectual and practical pursuit of local and global peace and morality.
We share in the purpose of the Peace Centre as well as in the vision that the Foundation has for Cape Town.
I want to thank you for choosing our city as the location to memorialise your legacy.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to pay homage for the decades you have spent fighting the wrongs of the apartheid past.
We are currently standing in front of what is going to become a monument of the work that the Arch and Mama Leah have dedicated their lives towards.
The Granary is one of Cape Town’s oldest and most significant heritage buildings.
It is a 204-year-old building so rich in history and one of the most significant architectural landmarks in Cape Town.
The original building was constructed between 1808 and 1813 as a dwelling house and bakery.
It was purchased in 1814 by the British colonial government for the use of a customs house, probably because of its proximity to the Castle.
In 1819, it was converted into a town granary, and in 1827 it was converted into a Magistrate’s Court.
In 1862, it is shown as civil engineer’s offices and it was also used by Public Works, and as a Post Office.
Due to the many changes in use of the building over the years, a variety of layers of fabric from different periods are visible throughout the building.
The complex of buildings on the erf are of high cultural, social, architectural and historic significance and form a part of the country’s heritage resources which should be protected and maintained for future generations.
We feel it is only fitting that the legacies of the Arch and Mama Leah should be preserved in the same way.
The start of the refurbishment is set for mid-2016 and we expect this process to be complete by early 2017.
As we work towards building an inclusive city, we see the Granary as a space for all the people of Cape Town and the rest of the world to come together and reflect on the role that each of us can play in creating a better world.
It is my hope that the next generation of leaders will be welcomed into the Peace Centre for their development.
The work done by the Arch and Mama Leah is significant and now the onus is on us to continue carrying the baton.
We will try our best not to let you both down.
Happy birthday to you Mama Leah.
I thank you.
Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town