South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero, Archbishop Desmond Tutu dies at 90 on Christmas –Boxing Day. The hero was an Anglican bishop and theologian who was widely known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist.
The world is making merry, it’s a season of love. It’s the period families gather and share unexplainable moments. During the D-day meant for sharing gifts, merrymaking was exchanged for sorrow in Africa.
According to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the death of the iconic religious authority opens “another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans”. A few weeks ago, the country lost its last apartheid-era president, FW de Clerk. He died at the age of 85.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu played a vital role in the birth of “a liberated South Africa,” Ramaphosa added.
The churchman, alongside Nelson Mandela, fought to bring an end to the racial segregation and discrimination that run in South Africa between 1948 and 1951. During the era, the white minority had the best of everything in the country. In 1984, he earned a Noble Peace Prize for his unwavering effort to abolish the system.
He said that he was “a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.”
“A man of extraordinary intellect, integrity and invincibility against the forces of apartheid. He was also tender and vulnerable in his compassion for those who had suffered oppression, injustice and violence under apartheid, and oppressed and downtrodden people around the world.”
Among the authorities and institutions paying tributes was the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The foundation said that Tutu’s “contributions to struggles against injustice, locally and globally, are matched only by the depth of his thinking about the making of liberatory futures for human societies… He was an extraordinary human being. A thinker. A leader. A shepherd.”
Desmond Tutu was born on 7th October 1931 in Klerksdorp, northwest South Africa.
Allen Dorothea Mavoertsek Mathlare, his mother was a Motswana from Boksberg. His father, Zachariah Zelilo Tutu, was from the Fengu branch of Xhosa but grew up in Gcuwa, Eastern Cape.
Tutu with disappointment started life as a teacher. Unfortunately, his parents couldn’t afford his tuition fees to pursue Medicine at the University of Witwatersrand. As ambitious as he was, he rose through ranks and positions after gaining a government scholarship to start a course at Pretoria Bantu Normal College, a teacher training institution, in 1951. Desmond Tutu became the Dean of Johannesburg and Bishop of Lesotho from 1975 to 1978.
Again, from 1985 to 1986, he became the Bishop of Johannesburg. Also, he became the Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1994. With his fight to end the apathy system, the US likened him to civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. In fact, this is just a handful of all the achievements and positions he has held.
Sadly, Tutu died in Cape Town at the Oasis Frail Care Centre on the morning of 26 December 2021. Africa weeps.