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Bono celebrates Archbishop Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday

posted 7 Oct 2011, 08:39 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 7 Oct 2011, 08:40 ]

U2 front man Bono leads supporters in celebrating Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (OCTOBER 7, 2011) REUTERS - Rock band U2's front man Bono led supporters in celebrating the 80th birthday of South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu at a historic cathedral in Cape Town on Friday (October 7).

Bono joined Nelson Mandela's wife Graca Machel, South Africa's deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, relatives and supporters during a thanksgiving service at St. George's Cathedral for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate's birthday.

The cathedral was sanctuary for activists during the struggle against the apartheid government.

However the event was mired in controversy, due to the denial by the government to grant fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner the Dalai Lama a visa to attend the celebrations.

Tutu, who won the Nobel prize in 1984 for his non-violent campaign against white supremacy, criticised the ANC-led government for failing to issue the visa, saying it was "worse than the apartheid government."

Last week, China agreed to $2.5 billion in investment projects with South Africa during a visit by South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to Beijing.

Motlanthe made no public mention of the visa while in China, however critics claim the government buckled under pressure from the communist state, which derides the Dalai Lama as a dangerous splittist.

The Dalai Lama came to South Africa in 1996 to visit then President Mandela who told Beijing it was Pretoria's right to decide on whom it allows into the country.