Desmond Tutu dies at 90, tireless fighter against apartheid

Desmond Tutu dies at 90, tireless fighter against apartheid

South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu died this Sunday at the age of 90. A tireless defender of human rights, Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his fight against the apartheid regime of racist segregation. The news of his death has been known through a statement from the South African Government. 

The country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has sent his condolences to the priest’s family. 

Tutu is considered one of the key figures in the contemporary history of South Africa, a great friend of Nelson Mandela, who in 1995 appointed him president of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a body created to investigate human rights violations that occurred. under apartheid. It was in 2010 when Tutu announced his retirement from public life, he was then 79 years old.

The death of the South African Desmond Tutu, a symbol of the fight against apartheid, has caused reactions around the world. The South African Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate passed away this Sunday (12.26.2021) at the age of 90 in Cape Town. Personalities and leaders from around the world have praised his work in life and mourned his death.

For the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, his was “an unbreakable voice for the voiceless.” “Archbishop Tutu was a figure of the world’s greatest transcendence who stood out for peace and for inspiring generations around the world. During the darkest days of apartheid, he was a shining beacon for social justice, freedom and resistance. non-violent, “Guterres said in a statement.

US President Joe Biden, in a joint statement with First Lady Jill Biden, praised Tutu’s “courage and moral clarity” and said “heartbroken.” “Desmond Tutu followed his spiritual calling to create a better, freer and more equal world,” the Bidens said. And they added that the legacy of the South African archbishop transcends borders and will “echo through the ages.”

Former President Barack Obama also considered him “a mentor, a friend and a moral compass for me and for many others,” he said in a statement. “A universal spirit, Archbishop Tutu drew on the struggle for liberation and justice in his own country, but he also worried about injustice elsewhere,” Obama said, adding that Tutu always sought “to find humanity in his adversaries “. Former President Jimmy Carter, another Nobel Prize winner, and his wife Rosalynn also said in a statement “joining the entire world in mourning.”

The Vatican said in a statement that Pope Francis was saddened and offered his “deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.” “Conscious of his service to the gospel through the promotion of racial equality and reconciliation in his native South Africa, his holiness entrusts his soul to the loving mercy of almighty God.”

Mary Robinson, president of The Elders, a group of world leaders working for peace and human rights co-founded by Tutu, said “we are all devastated.” “He inspired me to be a ‘prisoner of hope’, in his inimitable phrase,” said Robinson, former president of Ireland.

Queen Elizabeth II of England recalled him in a statement as a “man who tirelessly defended human rights in South Africa and around the world” and recalled “fondly my encounters with him and his great warmth and humor.” The British prime minister also said he was “deeply saddened” by Tutu’s death.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tutu had “dedicated his life to human rights and equality between peoples.” “His fight for the end of apartheid and for reconciliation in South Africa will remain in our memory,” he tweeted.

His friend and partner in the fight against apartheid, Reverend Allan Boesak, told DW that he will remember his “courage and honesty” above all. “He knew that South Africa is still a society in which women are violently attacked, we continue to have many forms of discrimination, despite our constitution, against LGBTQ people. And that is why he would love for us, who are still alive and take the relay, let’s move on with the fight … because he knew the job is not finished. “