Among the attributes Mrs Nomalizo Leah Tutu shares with the gorgeous yellowy-orange shrub rose named in her honour is repeat-flowering.
Mrs Tutu celebrates her birthday today, a week after Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu turned 89. She has been brightening his life since her schooldays, and they have been married for 65 years.
“Nomalizo”, as she is known to her circle of close friends in Soweto, has been the Archbishop’s great enabler. She has enabled him in a myriad of ways to perform his ministry of courageous healing.
She provided the comforting sanctuary of a family home, took jobs to augment income in tough times – and famously completed a mechanics course so she could do running repairs on the car, leaving him to travel in peace. But she does more than comfort; with a cocktail of quick-wittedness, street smarts, kitchen politics and sharp repartee, she keeps him on his toes.
“We are all entitled to our wrong opinions,” says the bumper sticker she purchased and displayed on the mantlepiece.
Mrs Tutu is a qualified teacher and a nurse. She is also an activist who helped establish South Africa’s first trade union for domestic workers. She is a repeat-flowering mensch.
“On behalf of all at the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, we wish Mama Leah, our co-founder, a fabulous and blessed birthday,” said CEO of the Foundation, Piyushi Kotecha.