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Tomorrow, 7 October 2016, we will be blessed to celebrate another year which has been added to the life of our beloved Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

On behalf of the City of Cape Town and all Capetonians, I would like to wish the Arch, as we fondly know him and a freeman of our city, a very happy 85th birthday.

With each passing year, we grow increasingly grateful for his leadership, sacrifices and moral guidance. I would like to wish him years filled with good health, love and peace. While he has been battling with his health recently, we continue to carry him in our hearts and in our prayers.

Through his life, the Arch has taught us about the courage of conviction, especially in the face of opposition and oppression. He has also taught us about the power that there is in humility and the ability within each of us to take a stand against injustice.

During our dark past, when many only saw unrest and bloodshed, he kept hope alive and fought for the peace which seemed impossible. The Arch remains a local and global leading light and continues to inspire us all as an icon of moral integrity.I would also like to thank his wife, Mama Leah, and the rest of the Tutu family for sharing the Arch with us. I know that they are going to spoil him rotten and will continue to take the very best care of him.

We continue with our work to memorialise the legacy of the Arch as well as Mama Leah. Last year, we committed to celebrating their dedication to promoting peace, reconciliation and equality in our country.

Previously, on 25 September 2014, the City of Cape Town Council resolved to lease the 204-year-old Old Granary building at 11 Buitenkant Street in Cape Town central to the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation for use as a Peace Centre. The Granary is one of Cape Town’s oldest and most significant heritage buildings and architectural landmarks.

We are currently in the first phase of the refurbishment of this building which consists of the heritage process, and will ensure that the methods we are using are in accordance with best practice for this historic building. The City-appointed contractor is being guided by a restoration architect to enhance this culturally significant building and to preserve the high historical, architectural and social significance of the Granary.

Restoration work began in March 2016 and is expected to be completed in March 2017. We are pleased with the progress that has been made.

The magnificent internal spaces of the building will be divided up in to office spaces using glass partitions, which are being designed by the Foundation’s architects. This is to maintain the sense of light and space in these internal spaces, which is also required by Heritage Western Cape.

The landscaping of the front courtyard will reflect the desire for a meditation and contemplation garden. We believe this restoration will bring the building back to a functional and beautiful condition and that it will serve as a distinct monument to the life work of the Arch and Mama Leah to further the cause for peace.

I want to thank the Foundation for contributing towards consolidating the positioning of Cape Town, as a world capital for the pursuit of local and global peace and morality. We are truly honoured to have been chosen as the home of this facility.

The Granary will serve as an inclusive space for residents of our city and citizens of the rest of the world in which to collaborate and make progress and peace, possible together.

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