Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was pivotal in halting South Africa’s apartheid rule, died on Sunday at the age of 90, according to South Africa’s president.
Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late 1990s and has been hospitalised multiple times in subsequent years as a result of infections related to his treatment. According to his relatives, he died quietly in the early hours of Sunday morning, 26th December, 2021.
“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,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement early Sunday.
Tutu was born in the rural village of Klerksdorp, some 100 miles (160 kilometres) south of Johannesburg. He came into prominence owing to his efforts as a human rights activist.
He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his untiring and nonviolent campaign against apartheid in South Africa, playing a central role in the eventual fall of the racist policy.
Tutu, an Anglican priest, would use the altar to preach and galvanize public opinion against the tyranny of South Africa’s Black population.
He was the first Black bishop of Johannesburg and later the first Black archbishop of Cape Town, was a passionate advocate for racial justice not only in South Africa but also internationally.
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Nelson Mandela spent his first night of freedom in 1990, after 27 years in jail, at Tutu’s home in Cape Town. Tutu headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which lay bare the horrible truths of white rule when the apartheid state fell apart, with Mandela leading the country as its first Black president.
“His contributions to struggles against injustice, locally and globally, are matched only by the depth of his thinking about the making of liberatory futures for human societies,” the Nelson Mandela Foundation mentioned in a statement.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Leah, and their four children. His death comes little more than a month since the passing of F. W. de Klerk, the country’s last apartheid president.
According to church officials, a seven-day mourning phase is scheduled in Cape Town before Tutu’s burial on January 1st, 2022.
It will include a two-day lying in state, an ecumenical ceremony, and an Anglican requiem mass at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town. Table Mountain in Cape Town will be lighted in purple, the colour of Tutu’s archbishop’s robes.
Tutu is remembered by friends as a man of deep faith who attracted people in with his charm, kindness, and intelligence, and who was happiest when working on behalf of others.
He’s imprinted in many South Africans’ mind as a key liberator of their dear nation.
Source: News Agencies