The family of the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has called on South Africans to continue his legacy by showing empathy and Ubuntu.
The iconic Anglican Church leader and liberation struggle icon passed away on Sunday, December 26 at his home in Cape Town. According to the family’s representative, Dr Mamphele Ramphele, Tutu himself embodied the values of Ubuntu in his lifetime.
“The Archbishop wants us to focus on Ubuntu, what it means to be human and he didn’t preach about being human. He lived the core values of Ubuntu. And those values shone through in his care for the lowest amongst us, for the distressed and also for the nation that has had such a traumatic history.
“The Archbishop fought against racism, fought against sexism, fought against homophobia and fought against any injustice because an injury to one is an injury to all of us,” Ramphele said.
Ramphele went on to say that Tutu’s life was an ode to resilience in that the Archbishop suffered from many illnesses like Polio and Tuberculosis in his early life whilst also fighting the injustices of apartheid at the same time.
“In all of that, all you heard from him was that chuckle, that joy, that deep sense of gratitude. As we mourn the passing of this great man, we really would like South Africa and the world to focus on the teaching moments of this man’s life.
“It is in recognising that whatever his vulnerability, he used every moment to make sure that people do not suffer whatever he suffered and so he was a great promoter of well-being and healthcare,” Ramphele explained.
Meanwhile, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation chairperson Niclas Kjellström-Matseke also indicated that the family expressed its gratefulness for the messages of condolences sent from people across the world mourning Tutu’s passing.
“On behalf of the family, I would express the gratefulness that it feels for all the warmth, the love and the caring thoughts that have been coming across. Thank you for your love, thanks to friends, thanks to fellow South Africans, thanks to leaders around the world and people of all religions for showing their love,” Kjellström-Matseke said.
Kjellström-Matseke further mentioned that Tutu’s legacy is one that deserves to be passed on for many years to come.
“It’s up to each and every one of us if we want to embrace what he stood for, and in order for this to happen, we have to listen. We have to want to understand our opponents, enemies and our surroundings,” Kjellström-Matseke said.