Desmond Tutu arrives in Kochi by sea

Desmond Tutu arrives in Kochi by sea

Desmond Tutu arrives in Kochi by sea

With his blue t-shirt and brown trousers, the elderly man looked no different from the other tourists who visit Kochi. Notwithstanding his ordinary appearance, Desmond Tutu has an aura about him, something the students travelling along with him across the globe on a “Semester of Sea” are starting to realise.

Long after leading South Africa out of apartheid and retiring from the priestly duties of being the Archbishop of Cape Town, Tutu still speaks about the need for peace, poverty eradication and maintaining racial identity.

In fact, far from being a mere tourism initiative, the voyage that has brought him to Kochi on Wednesday on a cruise liner “Explorer”, is to promote global peace.

“Nelson Mandela and I started the anti-apartheid campaign at Pietermaritzburg in South Africa by unveiling the Statue of Mahatma Gandhi, '' Tutu recalled at a reception accorded to him by the Cochin Port Trust on Thursday, recalling the inspiration Mahatma Gandhi provided in the fight against White rule.

Seated in India’s south western port city, Tutu said he was reminded of scores of Indians who contributed to the freedom of his country, something he always thinks of during his visits to the country.

“Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and a lot of other people helped us to become free,” he told journalist during an informal chat.

Tutu asked warring nations to divert the resources spent on conflicts to providing food and drinking water to millions of poor people, urging them to instead solve their differences by peaceful negotiation.

The former Archbishop, who won the Nobel peace Prize for his role in fighting Apartheid in 1984 and Gandhi Peace Prize in 2007, has also been a great cricket fan.

“I’m happy to be here in the week when you (India) beat Australia by an innings and 135 runs,” he told the reporters, adding, “Hashim Amla, who is (ethnic) Indian plays like your Tendulkar.”

Archbishop Tutu will be in the city till March 11. He would depart for Port Louis, Mauritius, which is the next leg of the global tour.

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