Desmond Tutu has operation in hospital; wife Leah says it was a success

(Photo: © Peter Kenny / Ecumenical News)The former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, making a speech in Cape Town on October 8, 2008.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is once again in the hospital. He has been there two weeks this time and doctors operated on him Sept. 7.

The operation in s Cape Town hospital on the 84-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate was successful, his wife Leah Tutu has said in a statement.

She said that Tutu was in "good spirits."

The date Tutu was operated on marked 30 years since he became the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of the Province of Southern Africa - the first black person to hold the position.

SA History Online says that more than 100 000 people gathered in his honour for the Eucharist held at Cape Town's Goodwood Stadium.

Tutu admitted himself to hospital last week after a recurring infection came back. "The Arch", as he is affectionately known, has beaten tuberculosis and prostate cancer in the past.

The former South African Anglican leader underwent a procedure to address the cause of recurring infections which he has battled since mid-2015.

Like Nelson Mandela, Tutu was at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid and he is a beloved symbol of reconciliation in the nation, which faces many post-struggle problems.

In recent years he has focussed his social justice work on climate change.

"Never before in history have human beings been called on to act collectively in defence of the Earth," he wrote in The Guardian newspaper in 2014.

His granddaughter actress Natasha Thahane pleaded last week with South Africans to prayer for her grandfather before he underwent surgery.

"Please join us wherever you are to say a prayer for Khulu [Tutu]," Natasha wrote.

He had been discharged from hospital, only for the family to issue a statement a few days later revealing that he re-admitted himself.

The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba said Tutu was in good spirits when he visited him Sept. 4.

"I visited and prayed with Archbishop Tutu in hospital on Sunday and he was in good spirits. Priests from the Diocese of Cape Town are taking a service with him daily, and we have asked the bishops of the church across southern Africa to pray for him and his family while he undergoes treatment and surgery," said Magoba.

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