Cape Town – Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu on Friday called on South Africans to throw some meat – or vegetables – on the coals to celebrate the country’s heritage and “braai”. “We experienced an incredible spirit in the month of the World Cup when all that mattered was that we were members of this extraordinary Rainbow Nation,” Tutu told journalists. “So I call on all of us to braai for Heritage Day, September 24. Let’s get together and enjoy ourselves, friends, families and even those who are not friends.”
Tutu is the patron of the “Braai for Heritage” campaign which is celebrated on September 24, an official public holiday to mark the nation’s multi-cultural heritage after the fall of apartheid in 1994. The archbishop emeritus said the fireplace was a traditional gathering place in Africa and that anything from meat to vegetables could be put on a braai, a pastime enjoyed by South Africans of all races. “We want to continue that tradition of all of us gathering on September 24, braaing for our heritage,” he said. “The important thing is all of us on that one day again getting together and just enjoying the fact of being South Africans.”
The 78-year-old, affectionately known as “the Arch” will retire from public life on his birthday next month after years of speaking out against apartheid’s white minority rule and injustices around the world. He will remain the patron of the braai campaign, which he joined in 2007. “You can resign from an office job but you can never resign from being a braaier,” the campaign’s Jan Scannell told him in front of a banner featuring a large t-bone steak in the shape of Africa.