Nobel Laureate `Uncle' to Local Tot: Tutu Visits Godson Desmond's School

By Hyslop, Margie | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 15, 1999 | Go to article overview

Nobel Laureate `Uncle' to Local Tot: Tutu Visits Godson Desmond's School


Hyslop, Margie, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


When Cedar Grove Elementary School's principal said Desmond Douglas' "Uncle" Desmond could visit the kindergartner's class, he and the students got a surprise.

"We found out who `Uncle Desmond' was," Principal Eric Mills told an audience packed into the school's gymnasium yesterday to hear South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The 1984 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to bring a peaceful end to white-minority rule in South Africa came to the school between Germantown and Damascus to visit his godson - whose mother, Kelly Douglas , met the archbishop about 20 years ago when she was a theology student.

Under a rainbow of pastel-colored paper dolls arching a platform in the school gym, Archbishop Tutu watched as first- through fifth-graders recited poems and sang about helping, caring and world peace.

After complimenting the students, he asked the boys, then the girls the seemingly mundane question: "Do you have girlfriends [boyfriends]?"

"No," came the resounding replies.

Then he told a story about a boy who saw a man on a street corner holding red, white, green and black balloons.

"Now and again this man would let go of a balloon and the boy would see red, white, black . . . balloons float to the sky," Archbishop Tutu said.

" `Excuse me sir, how come when you let go of the red, white, black balloons they float into the sky?' " the boy asked.

"He said: `It's not the color of the balloon that matters, it's the stuff inside. …

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