Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Mandela has his flaws, says friend Tutu

July 16, 2003

JOHANNESBURG, July 15: Even though he is almost perfect, Nelson Mandela does have his weak points, South Africa’s other anti-apartheid hero Archbishop Desmond Tutu said of his longtime friend on Tuesday.

Speaking on SABC public radio, the 71-year-old clergyman said he met Mandela, who celebrates his 85th birthday on Friday, when he was part of a debate competition and Mandela was asked to be a judge, before Mandela’s trial in 1963.

Asked what he thought Mandela’s weak points were, Tutu said: “I think the one thing (flaw) is loyalty.”

“He showed it particularly when he was president and when you thought sometimes that say, there were cabinet ministers who ought to have been given the trekpas (an Afrikaans expression for being ‘shown the door’).

“He would refuse to do that because of his quite extraordinary degree of loyalty and I think that was a major weakness in someone who is practically flawless.”

Asked what he thought was a particularly touching event he and Mandela experienced together, Tutu said it was when Mandela spoke about his Mozambican wife Graca Machel, whom he married in 1998.

“He was speaking almost like a very young person who had been bowled over by someone he likes. One is thrilled for him that his love life has blossomed so wonderfully”.—AFP