Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Leah Tutu on Monday commemorated their 63rd wedding anniversary by honouring the staff responsible for running Tygerberg Children’s Hospital in Cape Town.
The Tutus have been active patrons of the hospital for the past 18 years.
Apart from being regular visitors to the wards‚ their fundraising efforts have contributed to the hospital being able to acquire equipment to screen high-risk infants’ eyes and prevent blindness‚ and equipment for the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit for which there was no public funding.
The teaching hospital of Stellenbosch University‚ Tygerberg hospital is responsible for providing tertiary medical care to approximately half of the Western Cape’s children in need‚ as well as some children from further afield.
A spokesperson for the Tutus explained have a special relationship with the medical profession‚ in general‚ and Tygerberg Children’s Hospital in particular.
The former archbishop nearly succumbed to TB as a youth‚ after overcoming polio in his infancy. His intention to study medicine was only thwarted by a lack of funds to pay the university fees. A few years ago‚ the Archbishop partially fulfilled this childhood dream by joining a class of senior medical students at Tygerberg Children’s Hospital for some practical training.
Mrs Tutu studied nursing‚ after completing a teaching qualification.
Programmes director of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation‚ Razaan Bailey‚ said the pair had regularly told foundation staff over the years that they found the commitment and compassion of the people at Tygerberg Children’s Hospital “extraordinary and exhilarating“.