, CAPE TOWN, Aug 8 – Burglars have broken into the Cape Town home of South African peace icon Desmond Tutu, a spokesman said Thursday.
The break-in occurred overnight Tuesday-Wednesday as the archbishop emeritus and his wife Leah were at home sleeping.
The couple were unharmed.
“We can confirm that there was a break-in at the house,” said Benny Gool, a spokesman for the 81-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner.
“The police are now investigating the case.”
Police confirmed a burglary had taken place at a house on Tutu’s street in the Milnerton area of the city, but refused to confirm the names of the victims.
“The suspect or suspects fled with small household items and are yet to be arrested,” said Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut.
Burglaries, or so-called home invasions, are common in South Africa and are frequently accompanied by deadly violence.
Those who can afford it live behind high walls, electrified fences and with panic buttons that rapidly summon heavily armed private security guards.
Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is revered for playing a pivotal role in the battle to end former white racist minority rule.
He is still regarded as the voice of South Africa’s moral conscience.
Since retiring as archbishop in 2010, Tutu has remained in the public eye, criticising the ruling ANC government and berating religious intolerance toward gays.
He is also well-known for his air of playfulness and humour.
Known fondly as “the Arch”, Tutu once told AFP that most of his life had “been a bonus”.
He survived an illness believed to be polio as a baby, battled tuberculosis as a teenager and prostate cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 1997.