ARCHBISHOP Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah were among the dignitaries who attended the launch of the Nelson Mandela rose in Houghton, Joburg yesterday.

The launch of the flower, an orange and red rose, marks the beginning of the celebration of what would have been Mandela’s 100th birthday.

The archbishop was in good spirits as he danced with singer Sibongile Khumalo and the Imilonji Kantu Choral Society.

Keith Kirsten, who was involved in the breeding of the rose, said Mandela gave the project his blessing

“We encourage people to buy the rose,” he said.

All proceeds will go to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the launch of the rose was an excellent way to lead the country down a path of accountability and ethical leadership.

Makhura expressed regret over the Life Esidimeni tragedy and said he would not shift the blame.

“I cannot pass the buck to someone else.

“We should recommit to being accountable and walk down Nelson Mandela’s path,” he said.

“We have been derailed.

“Political leaders need to remember why they are in office. We are here to serve the people and not ourselves.”