South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu dies at 90

27/12/2021 10:48
South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu dies at 90

 South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who died Sunday at the age of 90, was the moral compass of his beloved "Rainbow Nation", never afraid to speak truth to power, whatever its creed or colour.

A tireless activist, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for combatting white minority rule in his country.

"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," President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement.

Famously outspoken, even after the fall of the racist apartheid regime, Tutu never shied away from confronting South Africa's shortcomings or injustices.

"It's a great privilege, it's a great honour that people think that maybe your name can make a small difference," he told AFP shortly before his 80th birthday in 2011.

Whether taking on his church over gay rights, lobbying for Palestinian statehood or calling out South Africa's ruling African National Congress on corruption, his high-profile campaigns were thorny and often unwelcome.

None at the top were spared -- not even his close friend, late president Nelson Mandela, with whom Tutu sparred in 1994 over what he called the ANC's "gravy train mentality".

Yet "the Arch" brought an exuberant playfulness to all his endeavours.

Quick to crack jokes -- often at his own expense -- he was always ready to dance and laugh uproariously with an infectious cackle that became his trademark.

It was Tutu who coined and popularised the term "Rainbow Nation" to describe South Africa when Mandela became president.

At the time, Tutu was serving as the first black Anglican archbishop of Cape Town.

Ordained at the age of 30 and appointed archbishop in 1986, he used his position to advocate for international sanctions against apartheid, and later to lobby for rights globally.

 

 

 

 

South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu dies at 90

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