Desmond Tutu dead: South African Archbishop passes away in Cape Town aged 90

Britain's Prince Harry visits Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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The anti-apartheid campaigner passed away in Cape Town at the age of 90. In a statement on Sunday, a spokesperson for President Cyril Ramaphosa said he “expresses, on behalf of all South Africans, his profound sadness at the passing today, Sunday 26 December 2021, of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu”.

President 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 SA.

“Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.”

The President described him as “a man of extraordinary intellect, integrity and invincibility against the forces of apartheid”

He added: “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.”

The campaigner, who was one of South Africa’s most well-known human rights activists, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his role in the opposition to apartheid in South Africa.

Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s.

President Ramaphosa said Archbishop Tutu articulated the “universal outrage at the ravages of apartheid and touchingly and profoundly demonstrated the depth of meaning of ubuntu, reconciliation and forgiveness.

He added: “He placed his extensive academic achievements at the service of our struggle and at the service of the cause for social and economic justice the world over.

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“From the pavements of resistance in SA 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.”

Born in 1931, Archbishop Tutu became the first Black Anglican Archbishop of both Cape Town and Johannesburg.

An outspoken critic of apartheid, the Archbishop also supported the economic boycott of South Africa, while encouraging reconciliation.

When Nelson Mandela was elected as the nation’s first Black president, he appointed Archbishop Tutu chairperson of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.

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