Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who worked in ending the discrimination practice of apartheid in South Africa, had kicked the bucket at the age of 90 yesterday. He rose to fame as a churchman who denounced the minority white regime in South Africa and did not spare objection to the post-apartheid African National Congress (ANC) authorities for failing to provide equal and just treatment to poor Black people. A contemporary of anti-apartheid idol Nelson Mandela, he was one of the driving forces behind the campaign to put halt to the policy of racial segregation and prejudice carried out by the white minority administration against the black majority in South Africa from 1948 until 1991. Elected as a preacher in 1960, Tutu went on to fulfil as bishop of Lesotho from 1976-78, assistant bishop of Johannesburg and chief of a parish in Soweto. He came to be Bishop of Johannesburg in 1985 and was nominated as the first black Archbishop of Cape Town the following year. He utilized his high-profile position to speak up against the coercion of black people in his home country, always explaining his objectives were pious and not political.
After Mandela served as South Africa's first black president in 1994, Tutu was elected by him to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up to examine crimes perpetrated by both whites and blacks in the course of the apartheid era.
HIS ACHIEVEMENTS SPEAKS VOLUMES
He condemned Israeli handling of Palestinians, the United States-led fighting in Iraq and hardliners within his church. The quest for peace took him to Cyprus, Northern Ireland and Kenya. Tutu addressed that the system of apartheid was as degrading to the intimidators as it was to the oppressed. At home, he strutted against imminent violence and pursued to bridge the gap between Black and white; abroad, he persuaded economic sanctions against the South African government to impel a change of strategy.
“He was South Africa’s moral compass, a thorn in the side of the apartheid government for its gross inequalities, and, likewise, the post-apartheid government, which he railed against for corruption and cosying up to China,” Scott Firing, a scholar who worked in South Africa said.
“He was South Africa’s Martin Luther King – a Christian clergyman who worked, non-violently, for racial justice and equality,” Steven Gish, author of a biography on Tutu.
President Ramaphosa said Tutu was "an iconic spiritual leader, anti-apartheid activist and global human rights campaigner".
His zeal and zest to bring out positive change in his country was something to emulate for others. His utmost devotion and commitment to bringing justice to his community is inspiring and motivating for the strugglers who are striving hard to get recognition of their individuality.