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“I’ll make duah for your daddy”, Mpho Tutu told

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While trying to spread some warmth and cheer among the sick, it was the patients who ended up giving words of comfort to the Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu, daughter of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, at Groote Schuur Hospital on Friday morning.

“Please tell your daddy Aunty Sadia from Heideveld is making duah [prayer] for him,” one patient told Mpho as she made her way through Ward E on the cold, wet morning.

“He is a good man and he must get better now. The country still needs him.”

A team from the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, led by Mpho, served patients hot soup and bread as they waited to be treated.

Mpho, who is only willing to confirm that her 83-year-old father was being treated at a Cape Town facility, said her parents were “thrilled” about the foundation’s visit to Groote Schuur for the Mandela Day celebrations.

‘Holding the stomach’

“They had a good friendship with Tata Madiba. They recognise one of the hallmarks of his character was caring about people.

“This is a way to demonstrate that in the most basic fashion – food for the hungry is one of the most basic needs.”

“I know there’s a very high demand for medical care so waiting times can be very long. Often people leave home very early in the morning. They sit in the hospital waiting room for a long time. This is just something to, as they say, ‘hold the stomach’ until they get home.”

The Arch, as he is fondly called, was admitted to a Cape Town hospital on Tuesday after oral antibiotics failed to treat a persistent infection.

Mpho on Thursday said the infection was “below the belt” and unrelated to the prostate cancer Tutu has been battling for the past decade, which remains dormant thanks to his medication.

Her father was in a good mood and in high spirits when she visited him on Friday morning, Mpho said.

“It’s nice for him to have a little peace and quiet. He is relishing a little rest as well,” she said.

‘Tutu is a celebrity’

Sipping on her vegetable soup, 67-year-old Daphne Rhode said she had heard ‘The Arch’ was being treated at Groote Schuur Hospital.

“That makes me very happy. He is a man of the people and shows he’s not so fancy that he must lie in a private clinic.

“If I should bump into him, I will probably faint! Tutu is a celebrity.”

Grateful patients gushed over the former archbishop’s “lovely daughter”, who they say “looks just like her daddy”.

“Sy is ‘n goeie mens, net soos haar pa [She is a good person, just like her father],” Elsie Carelse commented.

“She is so respectful and kind. I feel so glad I had the opportunity to meet her.”

Tutu will pull through because everyone is praying for him, she insisted.

“He must fight back hard against this illness. He can do it, just like I fought breast cancer five years ago. I prayed and the Lord healed me,” Carelse said.

“South Africa needs him to live and keep an eye over what’s happening in our country. He is a brave man who is never afraid of speaking out when someone – especially President [Jacob] Zuma – is up to no good.” News24

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