Resting in Tutu’s shade

My heart breaks today with the news that a great tree has fallen. Our dearest Arch Tutu has left us. He waited to bless us with his presence for the last Christmas and then he passed onto the other world, gracious and free.

He has been with us every step of the way for decades.  This tall strong tree has provided the soft cool shade to make our life’s journey more bearable.

I will miss him dearly.  He represents everything that we long for in our souls — a connection to the spiritual dimension and a commitment to act for the common good.

Often when we witness corrupt and disgraceful behaviour, we know too that we were blessed with leaders who conducted themselves differently. We will remember him, Madiba, Biko and Charlotte Maxeke. 

Despite the examples being there in front of us, we choose to bemoan our fate and cry for more help. The help has been given over and over again. We cannot expect more. We have to draw on that which has been bequeathed to us and grow strong in our commitment to live a good and decent life for the sake of our families, communities and country. It really is up to each one of us.

How strange that we so often do not value the beauty of our landscapes, our clear blue skies and all that we have naturally been blessed with. Nor do we value those who have gone before and those who choose to lead a decent life in awe of a greater power or in awareness of their ancestors. We do not affirm and love the many good people around us who are not corrupt.

It takes a long time to grow and nurture a tall strong tree like the Arch.  Let us be intensely grateful that we have enjoyed his physical presence for so long. I will sit quietly in my garden today and the days to come to reflect on the greatness of his soul.

Dearest Arch, I am so sad that you have left us but will choose in my mind to continue resting in your shade. May you now be fully at peace and know that you have lived a glorious life of which we have been the beneficiaries. We shall not forget that.

Keep the powerful accountable

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Zubeida Jaffer
Zubeida Jaffer is an award-winning journalist, activist and author of three books Our Generation; Love in the Time of Treason; and Beauty of the Heart (The Life and Times of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke) available at select bookstores in all major centres as well as online at

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