Internal Affairs

International community reacts to Archbishop Tutu’s passing

The international community has expressed their condolences following the passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Tutu who celebrated his 90th birthday on 7 October, passed away on Sunday.

In a tweet, the United States of America Embassy in South Africa conveyed its condolences

“On behalf of the U.S. Mission to South Africa, we extend our deepest condolences to Mrs Nomalizo Leah Tutu and the family of Archbishop Desmond Tutu on his passing. We join South Africa and the global community in honoring a man who spent his life fearlessly speaking truth to power.

From his work against apartheid in South Africa, to his championing of democracy, freedom and human rights, and advocacy for those still living under the scourge of homophobia, racism or xenophobia, Archbishop Tutu was the conscience of his generation. He will be greatly missed,” said the embassy.

The Embassy of France in South Africa said it learnt with deep sadness of the Archbishop’s passing. It described the country’s last surviving laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize as a “ a man of peace who led the way for modern South Africa.”

Meanwhile, the Elders –an international grouping of inspirational leaders which has done human rights work in countries around the world– described Tutu as a “dear friend and colleague.”

“Arch, as he liked to be called, was the first Chair of The Elders from 2007-2013. He played a vital role in shaping the organisation, its values and its work. Like The Elders’ founder, Nelson Mandela, Arch was an implacable and tenacious opponent of apartheid. His years of struggle in South Africa made him a fierce defender of equality and human rights worldwide,” it said in a statement.

Chair of the Elders, Mary Robinson, said the group is devastated by the news.

“The Elders would not be who they are today without his passion, commitment and keen moral compass. He inspired me to be a ‘prisoner of hope’, in his inimitable phrase. Arch was respected around the world for his dedication to justice, equality and freedom. Today we mourn his death but affirm our determination to keep his beliefs alive.”

Former President of the Republic of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said the African continent has lost an icon with the passing of Tutu.

“…Africa has lost an icon, a father to us all who fought injustice and oppression in all its forms and inspired a generation to strive for a more equal society. May he rest in everlasting peace,” she said.

In a tweet, India’s President Shri Ram Nath Kovind expressed his condolences.

“Deeply saddened by Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s demise. Influenced by Gandhiji, he brought spiritual values to the anti-apartheid struggle and upheld noblest ideals of humanity. His life will inspire generations. Condolences to his followers in South Africa and across the globe,” he said.

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson described Tutu as a critical figure in the fight against apartheid and in the struggle to create a new South Africa.

He said Tutu will be remembered “for his spiritual leadership and irrepressible good humour.”

In his condolences earlier, President Cyril Ramaphosa said Tutu was a patriot.

“Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.”

Source: South African Government News Agency