NEWS: South Africa
An imposing figure, against apartheid, Desmond Tutu died in Cape Town at the age of 90.

FILE PHOTO: Archbishop Desmond Tutu gestures at the launch of a human rights campaign marking the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , December 10, 2007. The campaign aims at getting a billion people to sign in support of the declaration. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo (SOUTH AFRICA)

His death was announced by South African Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, who called Tutu “a patri­ot with­out equal; a leader of prin­ci­ple and prag­ma­tism who gave mean­ing to the bib­li­cal idea that faith with­out works is dead ”. Tutu had been hos­pi­tal­ized sev­er­al times in recent years.

The pas­sion­ate free­dom activist led the coun­try’s Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion in the 1990s, a gru­el­ing inves­ti­ga­tion that inves­ti­gat­ed crimes com­mit­ted dur­ing the apartheid era. It was wide­ly seen as a cru­cial heal­ing step in South Africa’s tran­si­tion from apartheid to democ­ra­cy. The CVR has become a mod­el for sim­i­lar com­mis­sions in oth­er parts of the continent.

When Tutu first vot­ed in 1994 in South Africa’s first demo­c­ra­t­ic elec­tions, he expressed the unbri­dled joy of a coun­try emerg­ing from a trou­bled past.

It was a long jour­ney to get to this urn. For Desmond Mpi­lo Tutu, son of a high school prin­ci­pal, the church was not his ini­tial voca­tion. After giv­ing up his plan to go to med­ical school, he start­ed out as a teacher. But the cham­pi­on of jus­tice con­sid­ered the infe­ri­or edu­ca­tion that white minor­i­ty rulers forced on black South Africans to be an insult.

Tutu then turned to the priest­hood and was ordained in the Angli­can Church in 1960. Fif­teen years lat­er he became Johan­nes­burg’s first black dean and pub­licly engaged in the strug­gle against apartheid.

The cam­paign­ing priest has been arrest­ed more than once but has drawn strength from his beliefs and fel­low South Africans, he said. He con­demned all forms of vio­lence and con­front­ed both apartheid police and venge­ful black mobs who “stick” with so-called spies by throw­ing tires around their vic­tims and set­ting them on fire. Now firm­ly on the inter­na­tion­al radar, Tutu warned apartheid lead­ers that racism defied God’s will and that apartheid would not succeed.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.