On October 23rd 2013 the town of Swellendam was honoured to be visited by ‘The Arch’ on whom was conferred the freedom of the town. He made such an impact on all who were there that day.
On January 28th 2022, the Drostdy Museum of Swellendam held an official opening of an exhibition of photographs commemorating that occasion, displayed in the Tutu Hall.
The opening was a simple and beautiful occasion, as is entirely appropriate for such a human being. A small group of individuals had been invited to participate and everybody there felt honoured and humbled to witness the event. (even the Museum cat)
Father Mario Hendricks spoke about The Arch, with whom he was acquainted, and was able to convey clearly his power and strength – which came from the enormous depth of the man’s huge heart. He referred to Tutu’s contribution to the Truth and Reconciliation hearings, and pointed out that to have to listen to that pain and brokenness day after day – you would either have to have a heart of stone – or a heart just opens itself so deeply you can absorb the pain into your own being. And we all know which of those Tutu had.
Recently elected Mayor Francois du Rand cut the ribbon – and the audience entered a space full of joy.
Those photographs entirely encapsulate the emotions of that day – the smiles, the outstretched arms, the warmth and the wisdom of this very special person – everything is there. You will not be able to go into this room, look at these photos and fail to be moved.
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