South Africa’s anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu dies at 90

South Africa’s anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu dies at 90

December 27, 2021

Cape Town: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was a fierce anti-apartheid activist, passed away yesterday. He was 90.

Tutu, who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, died in Cape Town.

President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute to Tutu, saying he remained steadfast and fought throughout the decades of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

He expressed his condolences to Tutu’s wife Leah and their family, as well as the board and staff of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, The Elders and Nobel Laureate Group and Tutu’s friends and associates nationally and globally.

“The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa. Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.”

“A man of extraordinary intellect, integrity and invincibility against the forces of apartheid, he was also tender and vulnerable in his compassion for those who had suffered oppression, injustice and violence under apartheid, and oppressed and downtrodden people around the world.”

Ramaphosa said Tutu succinctly articulated “universal outrage at the ravages of apartheid” when he was Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and demonstrated the depth of meaning of ubuntu, reconciliation and forgiveness.

“He placed his extensive academic achievements at the service of our struggle and at the service of the cause for social and economic justice the world over. From the pavements of resistance in South Africa to the pulpits of the world’s great cathedrals and places of worship, and the prestigious setting of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the Arch distinguished himself as a non-sectarian, inclusive champion of universal human rights.”

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Tutu overcame tuberculosis, the brutality of the apartheid security forces and remained steadfast against successive apartheid regimes, Ramaphosa said.

Funeral set for Jan. 1: Foundation

The funeral of Desmond Mpilo Tutu will take place on Jan.  1 in Cape Town, his Foundation has announced.

“Arrangements for a week of mourning are still in their infancy,” the Foundation said in a statement yesterday, adding that the week of mourning will end with “the funeral of the Archbishop in Cape Town on Saturday, January 1, 2022.”

Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama have both expressed condolences over Tutu’s death. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that he was “deeply saddened” by the passing of the “towering global figure for peace and justice.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Tutu will be remembered for his “spiritual leadership and irrepressible good humour.” US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden also expressed “deepest condolences” saying they were “heartbroken” after learning of Tutu’s passing.

Tutu is widely known for his staunch opposition to apartheid, which resulted in him receiving a Nobel Prize in 1984, but he has spoken out on many other causes as well. The Archbishop also served as the Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after the abolition of apartheid and is known for coining the term “Rainbow Nation” to describe post-apartheid South Africa.


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