Desmond Tutu, the archbishop who fought against apartheid in South Africa, died

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NEW DELHI, INDIA – JANUARY 31, 2007: South Africa’s Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks after receiving the Gandhi Peace Prize during a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, on January 31, 2007 in New Deli, India. (Photo by Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times via getty Images)

The South African Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was one of the symbols of the resistance against apartheid and later promoter of reconciliation, died at the age of 90. He was the first black Anglican archbishop of Cape Town and has always fought to defend the oppressed and those who had no rights.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 as a symbol of the non-violent struggle against the racist regime. After the end of apartheid, and after Nelson Mandela was elected president of the new South Africa, Tutu conceived and chaired a commission, the “Truth and Reconciliation”, which in the pacification process shed light on the atrocities committed by whites during decades of repression. . And forgiveness was granted to those who had fully confessed. His writings “Crying in the wilderness” (1982) and “Hope and suffering” (1983), “No future without forgiveness” (1999) and “God has a dream: a vision of hope for our time” (2004). He would have coined the phrase “Rainbow Nation” to describe his country.

The South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, called the passing of the archbishop emeritus “another chapter in the mourning for our nation’s farewell to a generation of exceptional South Africans who have bequeathed a liberated South Africa to us”. Ramaphosa called Tutu “an iconic spiritual leader, an anti-apartheid activist and a global human rights champion”. “He was a principled and pragmatic leader who made sense of the biblical expression that faith without actions is dead.” “A man of extraordinary intellect, integrity and invincibility against the forces of Apartheid, he was also tender and vulnerable in compassion for those who had suffered oppression, injustice and violence under segregation and for the oppressed and marginalized of all. the world”.

The “strength of the legacy of peace” of Desmond Tutu was also underlined by the Community of Sant’Egidio, which affectionately recalled the Anglican archbishop in a statement. “Known throughout the world for his non-violent commitment against apartheid and his testimony of relentless commitment to peace, reconciliation and justice in Africa”, the note reads, “Tutu has been a friend of Community, with which he has shared moments of prayer and battles for peace and the future of Africa on many occasions ”.

“On May 26, 1988 he inaugurated the ‘Tent of Abraham’, the first community house dedicated to refugees”, underlines the statement from Sant’Egidio, “a stage in a long bond of friendship, made up of a common commitment to peace, health, human rights, the fight against the death penalty ”.

″ ‘When at Christmas he sees you with the poor at lunch, in the basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, God smiles’, said Archbishop Tutu during his visit to Rome. It is sweet for us to remember these words of his, just as the Community welcomes so many poor people from all over the world, aware of the strength of the legacy of peace that he leaves us ”.


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