Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has passed away at the age of 90 in Cape Town on Sunday, December 26. He was the last surviving South African laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize.
President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his heartfelt condolences to Tutu’s wife, Mam Leah Tutu, and the Tutu family on behalf of all South Africans.
“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,” Ramaphosa said.
The President described the Anglican cleric as a “man of extraordinary intellect, integrity and invincibility against the forces of apartheid”, who was also tender and vulnerable in his compassion for those who had suffered oppression, injustice and violence under apartheid.
“As Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission he articulated the universal outrage at the ravages of apartheid and touchingly and profoundly demonstrated the depth of meaning of ubuntu, reconciliation and forgiveness.
“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.
“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,” Ramaphosa adds.
Tutu, who overcame tuberculosis and brutality of the apartheid security forces, remained “true to his convictions… and maintained his vigour and vigilance as he held leadership and the burgeoning institutions of our democracy to account in his inimitable, inescapable and always fortifying way.”
He was born in 1931 in Klerksdorp and received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1984 for his non-violent role in opposing apartheid in South Africa.