Desmond Tutu, Nobel Prize-winning anti-apartheid hero dies

December 26, 2021

Desmond Tutu, Nobel Prize-winning anti-apartheid hero dies aged 90

Desmond Tutu, the cleric and social activist who was a giant of struggle against apartheid in South Africa, has died aged 90.

Desmond Tutu Early Life

Tutu was born in Klerksdorp, a farming town 100 miles southwest of Johannesburg. The sickly son of a headteacher and a domestic servant, he trained first as a teacher before becoming an Anglican priest.

As a cleric, he traveled widely, gaining MA in theology from London University. Excitable, emotional, charismatic, and highly articulate, Tutu won the Noble peace prize in 1984.

A vocal supporter of sanctions against South Africa, he was detested by the supporters of the apartheid regime, who saw him as an agitator and traitor. In 1986 he was appointed archbishop of Cape Town, the effective head of the Anglican church in his homeland.

In the late 1990s, Tutu, suffering from prostate cancer, began to spend more time with his wife of 60 years, four children, and numerous grandchildren.

Moral compass of the nation

Dubbed “the moral compass of the nation” his courage in defending social justice, even at great cost to himself, always shone through. He often fell out with his erstwhile allies at the ruling African National Congress party over their failures to address poverty and inequalities that they promise to eradicate.

Despite his illness, tutu remained interested in world affairs and determined to use his enormous moral prestige to make a difference. In 2050, he launched a petition launched urging global leaders to create a world run on renewable energies within 35 years, which was backed by more than 300,000 people globally.

It described climate change as “one of the greatest moral challenges of our time

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the churchman’s death marked “another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans”.

Archbishop tutu had helped bequeath “a liberated South Africa,” he added.

“Rainbow Nation”

In his final years, he regretted that his dream of a rainbow nation had yet to come true. The anti-apartheid hero never stopped fighting for this nation. Ultimately, at the age of 90, he died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Center in Cape Town Sunday morning,” Dr. Ramphela Mamphele, acting chairperson of the Archbishop, said in a statement on behalf of the Tutu family.

Tutu was one of the country’s best-known figures at home and abroad. A contemporary anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was one of the driving forces behind the movement to end the policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the black majority in South Africa from 1948 until 1991.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama described him as a mentor and a moral compass. At a boxing day service at St George’s, the Very Reverend Michael Weeder paid homage to Tutu from the Archbishop’s formal pulpit, saying it was “once the celebrated point of command” before asking the handful of parishioners present to bow their heads in a moment of silence.

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