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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 19 April, 2014

Archbishop Tutu’s house was burgled during the Mandela service

The South African peace icon used his speech at yesterday’s service to call on his countrymen to follow Mandela’s example.

Image: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix/Sports Inc/Press Association Images

BURGLARS BROKE INTO the Cape Town home of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu yesterday when he was away speaking at Nelson Mandela’s memorial, an aide confirmed today.

“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.

It is second time in five months that Tutu’s home in the Milnerton area of Cape Town has been hit.

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

‘Home invasions’

So-called home invasions are common in South Africa and are frequently accompanied by violence.

Those who can afford it live behind high walls, electrified fences and with panic buttons that rapidly summon heavily armed private security guards.

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 told AFP that most of his life had “been a bonus”.

- © AFP, 2013

Read: Deaf interpreter at Mandela’s memorial was a fake

Related: Mandela’s body lying in state after solemn journey through Pretoria

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