Reconciliation Day in Cape Town

Cape Town March for the Arch.

In Cape Town Reconciliation Day on 16 December is being celebrated by a march in honour of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah. The theme of the March for the Arch along the Fan Walk is PURPLE, which stands for Prayer, Unity, Reconciliation, Peace, Love and Equality, and all participants are invited to wear purple.

The meet is at the Prestwich Memorial and it will end with a free concert at the Stadium Forecourt.

Reconciliation Day has been a public holiday in South Africa going back even before apartheid. It originally marked the victory of the Afrikaans Voortrekkers over the Zulus at the battle of Blood River in 1838. In 1961 it became the anniversary of the founding of the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC).

The public holiday, previously marking division and bloodshed, was then bravely taken over post-apartheid in 1994 to mark reconciliation and unity across lines of race, culture and creed.

The march in honour of the Tutus – as much symbols of the fight against apartheid as Nelson Mandela – has been called by Cape Town's mayor Patricia de Lille to honour the archbishop “as a freeman of the city and as a principled man and leader who not only spoke truth to power during apartheid but continued to do so in our new democracy.”

The hand prints of the archbishop and Leah, cast in cement, will be placed at the Prestwich memorial at the start of the march.

Photo. The Tutus renew their wedding vows on their 60th anniversary on 4 July 2015. Photo Michel Bega.