Human rights

Death of Desmond Tutu – Archbishop and human rights activist dies aged 90

ARCHBISHOP Desmond Tutu, who helped end aside in South Africa has died at the age of 90.

The human rights activist was the last surviving South African Nobel Peace Prize winner and has died in Cape Town.

6

Desmond Tutu died at the age of 90 in Cape TownCredit: Getty – Contributor
He met the Duchess of Sussex on their South African tour

6

He met the Duchess of Sussex on their South African tourCredit: Getty – Contributor

He openly criticized the country’s previous brutal system of oppression against the country’s black majority.

The activist received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his campaign of non-violent opposition to the white minority regime in South Africa.

In a statement, Presidential Minister Mondli Gungubele said President Cyril Ramaphosa had expressed “deep sadness” over his passing.

President Ramaphosa said: “The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of mourning in our nation’s farewell to a generation of exceptional South Africans who left us a liberated SA.

“Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal; a principled and pragmatic leader who made sense of the biblical idea that faith without works is dead.

“A man of extraordinary intelligence, 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 the oppressed and oppressed people around the world.

Archbishop Tutu is survived by his wife Mam Leah Tutu, who has been described as his “soul mate and source of strength”, as well as four children and several grandchildren.

A statement on behalf of his family, Dr Ramphela Mamphele, described him as a man who “turned his own misfortune into an educational opportunity to raise awareness and reduce the suffering of others.”

He added: “He wanted the world to know he had prostate cancer and the sooner it was detected, the better the chances of managing it.

“Ultimately, at the age of 90, he passed away peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Center in Cape Town this morning.

“Courageous, caring and concerned about the well-being of others until the end.

“As Ms. Tutu says, although he was not physically imposing, he had the inner strength of a lion.”

“He wanted the world to know he had prostate cancer and the sooner it was detected, the better the chances of managing it.”

Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late 1990s and in recent years has been hospitalized several times to treat infections associated with his treatment.

Ms Mamphele did not give details of the cause of death.

He was alongside Nelson Mandela when he became South Africa's first black president

6

He was alongside Nelson Mandela when he became South Africa’s first black presidentCredit: AP: Associated press

Tributes to the Archbishop poured in, Piers Morgan saying: “RIP, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 90 years old.

“A beautifully charismatic and heroic figure who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his relentless campaign against apartheid in South Africa.

“I love his quote: ‘If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.’”

Strictly Come Dancing judge Motsi Mabuse added: “To forgive is not to forget; it is in fact to remember – to remember and not to use your right to fight back.

“It’s a second chance for a new start. And the memory part is particularly important.

“Especially if you don’t want to repeat what happened. RIP Desmond Tutu”

Born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, Transvaal, South Africa, he became the first black Anglican archbishop of Cape Town and Johannesburg.

During the 1980s, he played a role in drawing national and international attention to the inequities of apartheid.

He then chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and continued to draw attention to a number of social justice issues over the years.

In 1993 South African apartheid finally ended and in 1994 South Africans elected Nelson Mandela as their first black president.

THE STRENGTH OF A LION

President Mandela has also appointed Tutu as head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, charged with investigating and reporting on atrocities committed by both sides in the fight against apartheid.

In his later years, he regretted that his dream of a “rainbow nation” had not yet come true.

Asked about his retirement as Archbishop of Cape Town in 1996 if he had any regrets, Tutu said: “The struggle tended to make it abrasive and more than a touch of arrogance.

“I hope people will forgive me for the injuries I may have caused them.”

In December 2003, he berated his government for supporting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, despite growing criticism of his human rights record.

He also criticized South African President Thabo Mbeki for publicly questioning the link between HIV and AIDS, saying Mbeki’s international profile has been tarnished.

Son of a schoolteacher, Tutu was born in Klerksdorp, a conservative town west of Johannesburg, on October 7, 1931.

He first worked as a teacher, but resigned in 1957 to join the church, studying first at St. Peter’s Theological College in Johannesburg.

He was ordained a priest in 1961 and continued his education at King’s College London, before becoming Anglican Dean of Johannesburg in 1975.

Tutu was appointed the first black archbishop of Cape Town in 1986, becoming the head of the Anglican Church, the fourth in South Africa. He will keep this post until 1996.

In one of his last public appearances, he welcomed Prince Harry, Meghan and their four-month-old son Archie to his charitable foundation in Cape Town in September 2019, calling them a ‘truly caring’ couple.

The Archbishop's last public photo was taken in October after leaving his home to vote in Cape Town

6

The Archbishop’s last public photo was taken in October after leaving his home to vote in Cape TownCredit: AFP
Former President Barack Obama called Tutu a

6

Former President Barack Obama Called Tutu a ‘Crusader for Freedom’Credit: Reuters
Tutu became the first black Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and Johannesburg

6

Tutu became the first black Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and JohannesburgCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd
Bishop Desmond Tutu supports the Living Darfur campaign