Renowned Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu is dead.
The veteran South African cleric, who used his high profile in the Anglican Church to highlight the plight of black South Africans during the white minority rule, died aged 90.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Tutu’s death in a message on a boxing day issued by the Presidency Minister, Mondli Gungubele.
President Ramaphosa noted that the passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in the nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed a liberated South Africa.
“…was a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without work is dead. a man of extraordinary intellect, integrity, and invincibility against the forces of apartheid, he was also tender and valuable in his compassion for those who had suffered oppression, injustice, and violence under apartheid and oppressed and downtrodden people around the world,” the President noted in a statement.
Born in a humble mixed Xhosa and Motswana family in 1931, Tutu was designated for greatness, which he exhibited in his entire life by fighting for the voiceless and speaking truth to power during South Africa’s darkest hour.
The outspoken Tutu is famous for his dedicated work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist, which saw him being honored with the Peace Prize for his opposition to South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime.
Although he trained as a teacher, Tutu chose to teach beyond the four walls of the classroom thus becoming a cleric to preach the good news to all.
In 1960, he was ordained an Anglican priest. Two years later, he moved to the United Kingdom to study theology.
He could later be concreted as the Bishop of Lesotho in 1976 where he served until 1985 when he was named Bishop of Johannesburg.
In 1986, he was named the Archbishop of Cape Town, from 1986 to 1996, becoming the first black African to hold the position.
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world,” is one of the famous quotes of the fallen son of Africa who is seen as the moral campus of his beloved ‘rainbow nation.
When the apartheid regime came to an end with South Africa holding its first democratic election in 1994, after casting his vote Tutu noted that it was “Like falling in love” a remark that captured both his puckish humor and his profound emotions after decades of fighting apartheid. However, in his final years, he regretted that his dream of a “Rainbow Nation” had not yet come true.
On the global stage, the human rights activist spoke out across a range of topics, from Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories to gay rights, climate change, and assisted death – issues that are said to have cemented Tutu’s broad appeal