Freedom Day 2014: Desmond Tutu says he is 'glad Nelson Mandela is dead' 20 years after South Africa's first free elections

Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town said he is happy Mandela is not alive to see what South Africa's current leaders are doing to the country

Tomas Jivanda
Sunday 27 April 2014 11:57 BST

Retired archbishop Desmond Tutu has said he is happy Nelson Mandela is dead - so he does not have to see what South Africa’s current leaders are doing to the country.

Since Jacob Zuma became president, Tutu has become increasingly critical of the African National Congress (ANC), which has held power in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994 - first under the leadership of Mandela.

“I didn't think there would be a disillusionment so soon,” he told South Africa’s Sunday Times, before adding: “I'm glad that Madiba is dead. I'm glad that most of these people are no longer alive to see this,” referring to the slow pace of transformation.

His comments come as South Africa celebrates Freedom Day - a commemoration of the country's first post-apartheid elections which happened 20 years ago today.

Tutu, a close friend of Mandela and the de factor leader of the liberation movement in South Africa while he was in prison, was left out of Mandela’s funeral programme by the ANC, and almost not invited at all.

Tutu has already made it clear he will not be voting for the ANC in South Africa’s elections next month - the first since Mandela’s death.


“I have already said that I will not vote for them; that is something that I have said,” he explained during a recent press conference. “And I say it with a very sore, very heavy heart because on the whole they have tended to be close to the kind of things we dreamt about.”

He added: “We have to admit that not too many of the successors of those leaders [from his and Mandela’s generation] have been able to fill their shoes. But the shoes were enormous,” The Guardian reports.

“We dreamt about a society that would be compassionate, a society that really made people feel they mattered. You can't do that in a society where you have people who go to bed hungry, where many of our children still attend classes under trees.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in