London, July 23 (ANI): South African archbishop Desmond Tutu, a former apartheid activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, has announced plans to retire on October 7 from public life after decades of fighting human rights abuses at home and abroad.
According to The Telegraph, Tutu, who coined the phrase Rainbow Nation as Nelson Mandela's new South Africa was born, has said he wanted to spend more time "drinking redbush tea and watching cricket" than "in airports and hotels".
The Archbishop has expressed his wish to cut down on his public engagements to day a week in a bid to "grow old gracefully".
"Instead of growing old gracefully, at home with my family, reading and writing and praying and thinking, too much of my time has been spent at airports and in hotels," he said.
"The time has now come to slow down, to sip Rooibos tea with my beloved wife in the afternoons, to watch cricket, to travel to visit my children and grandchildren, rather than to conferences and conventions and university campuses," Tutu added.
The nation's political commentators have said the disappearance from public life of the man known as the nation's conscience would come as a severe blow to South Africans.
Archbishop Tutu rose to prominence in the 1970s as a fearless anti-apartheid campaigner who would walk into violent confrontations to preach peace and reconciliation.
In 1984, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. His international fame helped him to raise awareness about the plight of ordinary South Africans.
Since the fall of apartheid, he has spread his message of peace around the world including in the Middle East as well as leading South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission aimed at healing some of the wounds of the past.
Nelson Mandela described his ally as "a man who had inspired an entire nation with his words and his courage" while Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, whom Archbishop Tutu has repeatedly criticised for his dictatorial stance has labeled him "an evil little bishop". (ANI)