AS ARCHBISHOP Desmond Tutu prepares to leave for Washington DC to accept his latest award, his wife says The Arch has been humbled by the honour.
US President Barack Obama will bestow on Tutu, pictured , and 15 others the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday .
Yesterday Leah Tutu was full of praise for her husband.
"The family is very proud of him, he is very spiritual and humble. He bears no grudges, he can fight with a person today and tomorrow he will forgive them," she said.
Obama, then a senator of Illinois, made a lasting impression on Tutu when they met in Cape Town in 2006.
"My husband told me he had met a very intelligent young senator, he did not know Obama would be president. He has been very fond of Obama ever since."
Last week Tutu said: "I am overwhelmed, deeply honoured, humbled and speechless, and as always I am so aware that it's really given to me representatively."
He thanked his followers, saying: "I could not be who I have been without the millions of people who honoured me by agreeing for me to be their leader.
"I am standing out only because they are carrying me on their shoulders."
Tutu has won several awards over the years. But his most outstanding yet is the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize. That same year he was also awarded the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award.
Among the many other honours are the Dr Jean Mayor Global Citizenship Award (2002); Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award (2005); Gandhi Peace Prize (2005); and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Presidents Medal (2005).