Updated: December 26, 2021 2:11:22 pm
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the social activist and Nobel laureate who helped end apartheid in South Africa, died at the age of 90 on Sunday.
Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late 1990s and in recent years he was hospitalised on several occasions to treat infections related to his cancer treatment.
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa called Tutu’s death as “another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa.”
Who was Desmond Tutu?
Deshmond Tutu was one of the driving forces behind the movement to end racial segregation and discrimination by the white minority government in South Africa from 1948 till the year 1991.
He is regarded as a contemporary of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, and became the face of the moment outside the country.
He spearheaded grassroot campaigns around the world that fought against apartheid. Cultural and economic boycotts were often methods adopted in these campaigns. He emerged as a key figure in the movement in the mid-1970’s and has become a household name across the globe.
Tutu has politically stayed away from the African National Congress(ANC), that was at the forefront of South Africa’s liberation movement and refused to back its armed movement.
Deshmond Tutu was awarded the Nobel prize in 1984 for his role in the struggle to abolish the apartheid system. The prize highlighted the non-violent manner in which he fought against the system.
Tutu has been regarded as an outspoken human rights activist who highlighted and spoke out on a range of issues around the world including climate change, Israel-Palestine conflict, among others.
Recently, he also condemned President Jacob Zuma over allegations of corruption surrounding a $23 million security upgrade to his home.
Before joining the anti-apathied movement, Tutu worked as a teacher and recalled how the system of educating blacks infuriated him. He quit teaching in 1957 to join the church and was ordained as a priest in 1961. He also studied at St. Peter’s Theological College in Johannesburg and King’s College London.
He was named as the first Black Archbishop of Cape Town in 1986, becoming the head of the Anglican Church, South Africa’s fourth largest and retained that position until 1996.
Tutu was asked to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) after the nation’s first free election in 1994.
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