Archbishop Desmond Tutu of Cape Town, South Africa, has died at the age of 90.
He was an uncompromising opposition force against Apartheid. Tutu worked to end oppression against the Black majority in South Africa. It was this work that he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
The Nobel Laureate is also known for his work over the last few decades on behalf of the LGBTQ community in South Africa and the church.
The outspoken clergyman used his voice as the first Black bishop of Johannesburg and later Archbishop of Cape Town to speak out boldly against racial injustice in South Africa and across the globe.
On Sunday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed condolences and his admiration.
“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.
The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa. pic.twitter.com/vjzFb3QrNZ
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 (@CyrilRamaphosa) December 26, 2021
For more than 60 years, Tutu was an unwavering voice calling on the South African Government to end Apartheid, the country’s official policy of racial segregation. When Apartheid ended in the early ’90s, and Nelson Mandela became president, Tutu was chosen as South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission leader.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation released a statement regarding Tutu’s legacy.
“He was larger than life, and for so many in South Africa and around the world his life has been a blessing. His contributions to struggles against injustice, locally and globally, are matched only by the depth of his thinking about the making of liberatory futures for human societies,” said the statement.
Tutu’s civil and human rights work garnered him great honors worldwide. Former President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
In 2012, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation awarded Tutu a $1 million grant for his lifelong commitment to speaking truth to power.
When Tutu was asked how he wanted to be remembered, his response was simple and profound.
“He loved. He laughed. He cried. He was forgiven. He forgave. Greatly privileged.”