It goes without saying that Archbishop Desmond Tutu has left an indelible mark on the world. He is remembered fondly for his infectious smile, his inspirational preaching and his unwavering battle against the injustice of the inhumane policy of apartheid. Once described by Mandela as “the voice of the voiceless”, Tutu not only won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his counter-apartheid activism, but he also became the first black South African Archbishop of Cape Town in 1986.
In 2011, Tutu participated in the New 7 Wonders of Nature global voting campaign. He promoted South Africa’s Table Mountain and encouraged voters to back the country’s “fantastic gateway”. Tutu saw the Table Mountain campaign as a way of uniting people beyond the barriers of politics: “It’s apolitical. It belongs to all of us. Let’s show that we are proudly South African.” His vote was documented by the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway on YouTube. In the video, the archbishop can be seen dancing in his chair seconds after submitting his vote online. His enthusiasm was clearly catching because Table Mountain was elected as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2011. It is the only one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature to be located in an urban area.
The site’s popularity continues to grow, and it was named Africa’s Leading Tourist Attraction for the third year in a row in 2021. The site’s involvement in the New 7 Wonders of Nature campaign led to huge tourism-related economic benefits in South Africa, as was proven by a study carried out by Curiositas, a consulting company based in Cape Town. Lehmann, the founder and CEO of Curiositas, said of the New7Wonders campaigns: “The numbers are clear: being voted as a New 7 Wonder (especially those that actively promote this status) has resulted in a positive impact for tourism and related economic benefits on average twice as strong as the rest of tourism growth in the world.” This means that the campaign had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the communities in the vicinity of Table Mountain. Tutu helped to make this a reality. As Tutu once said, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
Archbishop Tutu – displaying his typical positive energy – with the Founder and Director of New7Wonders, Bernard Weber and Jean-Paul de la Fuente, alongside Table Mountain campaigner Fiona Furey
Featured image: Table Mountain New7Wonders campaign
Image of Archbishop Tutu, Bernard Weber, Jean-Paul de la Fuente and Fiona Furey: Table Mountain New7Wonders campaign