Anti-apartheid human rights leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu passes away

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will be laid to rest on Saturday | SABC News

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, December 27, 2021 – Yesterday, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Anglican cleric and pivotal human rights leader to end apartheid in his native South Africa, has died. He was 90.

From his pulpit, Tutu spoke out against apartheid – a system of institutionalized racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 until 1994. Following the end of apartheid, Tutu chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that documented atrocities and sought to promote national reconciliation.

Bells will ring each day for ten minutes from Monday to Friday at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral in Cape Town to honor the archbishop’s memory. Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be laid to rest on Saturday.

In a statement confirming his death on Sunday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his condolences to Tutu’s family and friends.

“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.

In a statement by Graca Machel of the Nelson Mandela foundation on the passing of Tutu, she wrote, “he masterfully used his position as a cleric to mobilise South Africans, Africans, and the global community against the brutalities and immorality of the Apartheid government.”

“Arch is the last of an extraordinarily outstanding generation of leaders that Africa birthed and gifted to the world,” wrote Machel. “I, as a Mozambican, can recall a time where the struggle against Apartheid was epitomized by the faces and voices of three giants: the exiled and revolutionary Oliver Tambo booming across radios and televisions on the world stage; the imprisoned yet omnipresent symbol of resistance that was Nelson Mandela; and Desmond Tutu, the leader from inside South Africa whose messages were too penetrating to be ignored and whose voice too powerful to be silenced.”

Queen Elizabeth II, the Supreme Governor of the Anglican Church, in a statement released yesterday offered her condolences saying Tutu, “tirelessly championed human rights” and that he had great “warmth and humour” in their meetings.

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