Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the giant in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, has died at 90. President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa confirmed his death in a statement.
He said Tutu’s death opened “another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa,”.
Tutu was awarded the Nobel prize in 1984 for his role in the struggle to abolish the apartheid system.
As an anti-apartheid icon and Nelson Mandela’s contemporary, Tutu was one of the driving forces behind the movement to end the policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the black majority in South Africa from 1948 until 1991.
Ramaphosa described Tutu as an “iconic spiritual leader, anti-apartheid activist and global human rights campaigner”, saying “a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.
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He added, “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.”