South Africa

Desmond Tutu’s 90th-birthday auction fetches R3.5 million

A book authored by South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate and retired archbishop Desmond Tutu was a top seller at an auction to celebrate his 90th birthday, his representatives announced Thursday.

A signed first edition copy of Tutu’s 2004 book “God Has a Dream” was part of paraphernalia auctioned to honour the anti-apartheid icon, who turns 90 on October 7.

“The leather-bound hardcover is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, is signed by the Archbishop, and is number 525 of a small print run of 1,200,” the Tutu foundation said in a statement.

In the book, Tutu recounts how his spirituality guided him through his darkest times.

The book was donated by South African filmmaker Anant Singh, who also gave a rare signed copy of the limited 1994 edition of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom”. 

“Both books exceeded expectations at the auction,” the foundation said, without divulging how much the books fetched at the auction, held Wednesday.

A painting by South African Charles Foley of Tutu’s 2015 meeting with the Dalai Lama in India, inspired by the government’s repeated refusal to grant the Tibetan spiritual leader a visa to visit the archbishop in Cape Town, also surpassed expectations.

Overall, the auction fetched 3.5 million rand ($237,000), which will be channelled to the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.

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