South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the news and his passing as “another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa.”
“From the pavements of resistance in South Africa to the pulpits of the world’s great cathedrals and places of worship, and the prestigious setting of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the Arch distinguished himself as a non-sectarian, inclusive champion of universal human rights.”
Desmond Mpilo Tutu’s role in the non-violent campaign to end the policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the Black majority in the country earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
Thanks to Tutu’s campaigning, alongside supporting fellow anti-apartheid activist, Nelson Mandala, South Africa ended apartheid in 1990. Four years later, the pair would famously stand hand in hand when Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected president.
“Typically, he turned his own misfortune into a teaching opportunity to raise awareness and reduce the suffering of others,” Dr Ramphela Mamphele, acting chairperson of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu IP Trust and coordinator of the Office of the Archbishop, said in a statement on behalf of the Tutu family.
In the late 1990s, Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was hospitalised a number of times in recent years to treat the infections that resulted from his cancer treatment.
“He wanted the world to know that he had prostate cancer, and that the sooner it is detected the better the chance of managing it.”
“Ultimately, at the age of 90, he died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Centre in Cape Town this morning.”
In response to the sad news, social media has been flooded with messages paying tribute to Tutu.
South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa described the Archbishop as a “a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism.”
Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical ins… https://t.co/SnU1bOAfMV
The Dalai Lama paid tribute to Tutu in a letter to the Archbishop’s daughter, Rev. Mpho Tutu. “With his passing away, we have lost a great man, who lived a truly meaningful life. He was devoted to the service of others, especially those who are least fortunate.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama sends his condelences on the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. https://t.co/njLb7BY3Ky
Strictly’s Oti and Motsi Mabuse who hail from South Africa also paid tribute to the Archbishop.
Motsi noted the importance of remembering Tutu’s impact: “Forgiving is not forgetting; its actually remembering – remembering and not using your right to hit back,” while Oti described the Archbishop’s passing as a “huge loss.”
Forgiving is not forgetting; its actually remembering--remembering and not using your right to hit back. Its a seco… https://t.co/fHN3UqhuxM