Anti Apartheid Warrior Archbishop Desmond Tutu breathes his last. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed the death of Archbishop Emeritus and anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu who has died at the age of 90.
Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu is the man who coined the phrase “the Rainbow Nation” and was affectionately known as “the Arch” has been fighting prostate cancer for roughly two decades and was a fierce campaigner for human rights and dignity.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela described him as “sometimes strident, often tender, never afraid and seldom without humour,” adding that “Desmond Tutu’s voice will always be the voice of the voiceless”.
He fought openly and passionately against oppression, racism, poverty and homophobia.
Born in Klerksdorp in 1931 and having studied teaching and theology, Archbishop Tutu became increasingly active in the fight against apartheid as a young man and rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as a vocal opponent of the apartheid system and in 1984 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
By 1986 Archbishop Tutu had become the first black person to lead the Anglican Church in Southern Africa and used his position to fight for peace and justice.
After South Africa finally held its first democratic elections, Archbishop Tutu was appointed chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) set up to deal with the atrocities of apartheid and years after the TRC ended, he continued to speak out on moral and political issues.
In 2007 he helped found The Elders – a grouping of senior world leaders who work together for peace and human rights and in 2009, when Jacob Zuma was about to become President of South Africa, the Arch was candid about not looking forward to his presidency.
When the Dalai Lama was forced to cancel his trip to South Africa in 2011 because of controversial visa delays, Archbishop Tutu again lashed out at government and the African National Congress.
His criticism of the state saw Archbishop Tutu sidelined and even when his lifelong friend and world icon Nelson Mandela died in 2013, he was not asked to speak at his funeral and a year later, he made it clear he would not vote for the ruling party in South Africa’s 5th democratic elections.
Archbishop Tutu is survived by his wife Leah, four children and seven grandchildren.
May his soul rest in Eternity.