South African Equality Activist Desmond Tutu Dies at 90

About Desmond Tutu: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner and a veteran of the South African battle against white minority reign, passed away on Sunday at age of 90, the presidency said.

In 1984 Tutu Key marks in the life of South African cleric and activist Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize for his peaceful resistance to apartheid. After a decade, he saw the end of that practice and headed a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, established to uncover cruelties committed during those times.

His Contribution to the Resistance against Apartheid 

The straightforward Tutu was considered the country’s conscience by both Black and white, an everlasting testament to his belief and faith in reconciliation in a split nation. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late 1990s and recently was admitted to the hospital on multiple occasions to treat infections associated with his treatment of cancer.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “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.”

“Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal.”

The presidency gave no information about the cause of death.

Tutu advised against the oppression of the white minority and even after its end, he never hesitated in his fight for a fairer South Africa calling the Black political aristocracy to account with as much spirit as he had with the White Afrikaners. In his last years, he mourned that his dream of a “Rainbow Nation” had yet to materialize.

Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu

Last Days and Death

Dr. Ramphela Mamphele, who is the acting chairperson of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu IP Trust and Co-ordinator of the Office of the Archbishop, said in a statement on behalf of the Tutu family, “Ultimately, at the age of 90, he died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Centre in Cape Town this morning.” 

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A weak-looking Tutu was observed in October being wheeled into his former church at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town which used to be a safe venue for anti-apartheid activists for a special thanksgiving service commemorating his 90th birthday. Named as “the moral compass of the nation”, his courage in protecting social justice, even at the great cost to himself, always gleamed through and not just during apartheid. He usually argued with his former supporters at the ruling African National Congress party due to their failures to solve the issues of poverty and inequalities that they assured to put an end to.

Tutu’s Legacy 

At five feet five inches tall and an infectious smile, he helped to galvanize basic campaigns throughout the world that fought for an end to apartheid through economic and cultural withdrawals. Talking and traveling tirelessly throughout the 1980s, Tutu became the focal point of the anti-apartheid movement internationally while many of the leaders of the rebel ANC, such as Nelson Mandela were imprisoned. 

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