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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK
Tutu praises 'unifying' barbecues
Archbishop Desmond Tutu at a barbecue outside his office
Archbishop Tutu's favourite sausage is a beef boerewors
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has become the patron of South Africa's Barbecue (Braai) Day, saying the pastime is a unifying force in a divided country.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate celebrated his appointment by donning an apron and tucking into a sausage outside his office.

"This is something that can unite us. It is so proudly South African, so uniquely South African," he said.

Braai Day takes place on September 24, which is also National Heritage Day.

Organiser Jan Scannell said the idea was not to have a mass braai, but rather many small ones with friends and family.

'Wonderful institution'

"There are so many things that are pulling us apart, this has a wonderful potential to bring us all together," Archbishop Tutu told reporters on Wednesday.

"We have 11 different official languages but only one word for the wonderful institution of braai: in Xhosa, English, Afrikaans, whatever," he said.

Sometimes I am surprised when people say, 'You are our patron'
Archbishop Tutu

"We've shown the world a few things. Let's show them that ordinary activities like eating can unite people of different races, religions, sexes... short people, tall people, fat people, lean people," he added.

The retired Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, who won the Nobel Prize in 1984 for his anti-apartheid struggle, continues to speak out against injustice at home and abroad.

He is linked to a peace foundation and HIV and TB centres, and he is patron to a number of organisations, including children's hospitals, hospices, nutrition clinics, orphanages and a soccer team.

However, he admitted that he had lost count of the groups he backed.

"Sometimes I am surprised when people say, 'You are our patron'," he said.

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