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Tutu's house broken into during Mandela memorial

AFP

Burglars broke into the Cape Town home of peace icon Desmond Tutu while he was away speaking at Nelson Mandela's memorial, says an aide.

It is second time in five months that Archbishop Desmond Tutu's home in the Milnerton area of Cape Town had been hit. (AFP)

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's home was broken into while he was at Nelson Mandela's memorial, an aide said on Wednesday.

"I can confirm that there was a burglary last night," said Tutu aide Roger Friedman. 

"We are not able to tell exactly what was stolen, the archbishop and his wife were not at home. The house was not pillaged.

Tutu had used the memorial to call on South Africans to follow Mandela's example.

"I want to show the world we can come out here and celebrate the life of an icon."

The timing of the incident is embarrassing for South Africa – the latest in a series of unflattering episodes to occur when the eyes of the world are on the country.

It earlier emerged that the sign language interpreter at Mandela's memorial had been "faking" his signing.

Previous burglary
It is second time in five months that Tutu's home in the Milnerton area of Cape Town had been hit.

In August criminals broke into the home while the archbishop and his wife Leah were at home sleeping. The couple was unharmed.

Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is revered for playing a pivotal role in the battle to end former white racist minority rule.

He is still regarded as the voice of South Africa's moral conscience.

Since retiring as archbishop in 2010, Tutu has remained in the public eye, criticising the ruling ANC government and berating religious intolerance toward gays.

He is also well-known for his air of playfulness and humour.

Known fondly as "the Arch", Tutu once said that most of his life had "been a bonus".

He survived an illness believed to be polio as a baby, battled tuberculosis as a teenager and prostate cancer, with which he was diagnosed in 1997. – AFP

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