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World Leaders Pay Tribute to Desmond Tutu, an Anti-Apartheid Icon

Archbishop Desmond Tutu died at the age of 90 in Oasis Frail Care Centre on Boxing Day. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate is remembered for his outstanding contribution in liberating South Africa from apartheid. Known as present-day Nelson Mandela, Tutu was one of the major driving forces in ending the policies of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the black majority from 1948 to 1991. During SA’s long and tiring journey to racial freedom, where many struggling leaders were either killed, exiled, or imprisoned, the defiant priest remained stagnant. He exposed the hypocrisy of the apartheid state, uplifted the victims, held the ANC liberation movement accountable, and dared Western governments to do more in ending the white-minority government that he compared to the Nazis. He even spoke for the Palestine cause and held the Israeli occupation worse than apartheid.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 because of his work for human rights. The first democratic elections in SA were held in 1994, which he celebrated with joy and called the country a rainbow nation. He continued to use his moral authority to supervise the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and exposed the crimes committed by the white-minority government. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the 1990s, due to which he was hospitalized several times. His body will be presented at St George’s Cathedral on Friday, 31 December, for people to pay their respects before his funeral service the next day. A memorial service will also be held in Cape Town from 27 to 31 December. Leaders from all over the world have shared their feelings towards the loss of a great human being.

Desmond Tutu Touched so Many

Leaders from all over the world remember Tutu for his courage, empathy, optimism, smiles, and willingness to find humanity in apartheid supporters. He was never hesitant in showing his emotions in public, having a funny and always smiling attitude. In one of his memorable moments, he was seen dancing and laughing during the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. Desmond Tutu also campaigned for LGBT+ and same-sex marriage. In one of his famous speeches in 2013, he said that he would not worship a God who’s homophobic. The country loved his spiritual leadership and wild humour.

US President Joe Biden expressed how hard it was to bear the loss of a servant of God and people. He has sent condolences to all South Africans living a life free of apartheid because of people like Tutu.

The highest authority in the world recognized Tutu as the most significant global figure for peace and justice. His will always be a source of inspiration for other leaders to keep fighting for a better and equal world.

The Only Regret

Desmond Tutu became a priest in 1960 and served as bishop of Lesotho from 1976-78. He then became the bishop of Johannesburg in 1985, and the following year he was the first black man to become Archbishop of Cape Town. He said his motive in speaking out against oppression was always about religion, not politics. After Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa in 1994, he appointed Tutu to oversee Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in investigating the crimes committed during the apartheid era by both white and black citizens.

He coined the term Rainbow Nation to describe the mixed ethnicity of the post-apartheid SA. However, in his last years, he reportedly revealed that he had one regret. For him, South Africans failed to unite in a way he had hoped.

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