Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on a brief visit to Kochi, compared South African cricketing star Hashim Amla to Sachin Tendulkar as he spoke on India’s contributions to the shaping of modern-day South Africa.
“He (Amla), of Indian extraction, plays like Tendulkar,” said the Archbishop before an overwhelmed audience comprising officials and workers of Cochin Port Trust here on Thursday.
The Archbishop surprised the port trust community on Thursday morning when it was announced that he would pay a visit to the port trust office. He was taken on a round of the office and treated to the beauty of Kochi from the port trust chairman’s the waterfront office.
Despite the surprise element, there was a large gathering of officials and workers to meet the visiting dignitary by 10 a. m.
He was given a warm though subdued welcome by the workers and officials. Port Trust Chairman Paul Antony said it was a humbling experience. “This is the first time that the port trust hosted such a dignitary.”
“We were overwhelmed by his presence”, the chairman told The Hindu after the half-hour visit by the modern-day Apostle of Peace and winner of the Gandhi Peace Prize. Archbishop Tutu, who won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1984, is in the city onboard cruise ship Explorer , which arrived here on Wednesday. The Archbishop, wearing a bright blue t-shirt and smiling broadly, told the audience how he and Nelson Mandela started the anti-apartheid campaign at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, with the unveiling the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
Reverend Tutu noted that India and Indians played a great role in shaping South Africa in all its varied aspects, including cricket.
The Archbishop is part of the ‘Semester at Sea’ programme, which aims to give students from over 27 countries an exposure to living with people from across the world. The Archbishop said it would do a sea of good if the money spent on wars and purchasing arms was spent on improving the lives of the poor and the down-trodden.
Explorer is the 34th cruise ship calling at the Kochi port during the current year and has 800 passengers onboard most of whom are students and faculty in a trip sponsored chiefly by the University of Virginia.