South African President Cyril Ramaphosa this afternoon announced the death of the man Nelson Mandela called the ‘people’s archbishop’. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, anti-apartheid and human rights activist, died aged 90.
President Ramaphosa said Desmond Tutu’s death marked “another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa.”
One of South Africa’s best-known figures at home and abroad, Desmond Tutu earned international respect for his defiance of the apartheid regime during the years of white minority rule.
As an outspoken critic of white minority rule, he became known as the voice of voiceless Black South Africans. In 1984, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to apartheid. Following the end of white minority rule, Nelson Mandela appointed him Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I cannot keep quiet
Long an advocate for LGBTIQ+ rights, earlier this year, Archbishop Tutu spoke out forcefully against prejudice and discrimination.
“I have to tell you, I cannot keep quiet when people are penalised for something about which they can do nothing.
“First, gender. When women are excluded, just simply and solely because they are women.
He said he thought it even worse when he saw news of people “penalised, killed, all sorts of ghastly things happen to them, simply, solely on the basis of their sexual orientation.
“I oppose such injustice with the same passion that I opposed apartheid.”
In 2016, the Archbishop’s daughter married her female fiance in a small civil ceremony in the Netherlands.
Reverend Mpho Tutu tied the knot with long-term partner Marceline Furth, a professor in paediatric infectious diseases at the Vrije University in Amsterdam.
Rev. Furth is a South African HIV/AIDS activist, and also campaigns against poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, RIP.
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