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15 octobre 2008

Lobbyists to raise funds to build peace centre

Yazeed Kamaldien, The, Published:Oct 13, 2008

Plans to develop the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town are on track, with lobbyists trying to drum up the R150-million it will cost from international philanthropists and even ordinary South Africans.

The centre, which will be the first of its kind to offer peace brokers from international conflict zones a neutral space to strike deals, will be up and running by 2011 if all goes to plan, said centre chief executive Nomfundo Walaza.

It is being driven by its namesake, the retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1984 who has been viewed as an international moral compass.

“[For example] if the South African government is brokering peace for the Democratic Republic of Congo, instead of meeting in the parliament buildings, they can meet at a neutral space at the centre ,” said Walaza .

Tutu’s emissaries and fundraisers are now approaching his friends, such as maverick British businessman Richard Branson and lobbyist Peter Gabriel, to donate cash for the development.

“Branson has indicated he would be of assistance ... but ordinary South Africans can also give R100 or R500 towards the bricks. We don’t want this to be funded only by people from overseas ,” said Walaza.

The centre will be built on a piece of prime real estate close to the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The land was donated by the City of Cape Town in 2004.

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