In the summer of 2008 I was asked to interview Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Salisbury International Arts Festival. Although I had met him and interviewed him several times when I was based in South Africa, I was a little nervous beforehand and I think he could see it.
Five minutes before we began, in the room backstage, Mr Tutu took my hand. “Come on let’s pray”, he said. He told all of us, organisers, technical staff, and my wife and two of my daughters, who were also there, to hold hands in a circle. “Let us just take a moment to pray for the success of this event, that Mark asks the right questions and I give the right answers, and everything works out well!”
Happily, I think it did work out OK and Mr Tutu was as lively, compelling, fascinating and honest as he always was.
And, right there, you have Archbishop Desmond Tutu. First and foremost he was a man of God. And second he was a figure for whom honesty and the truth were more important than almost anything…