The Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation has described Archbishop Desmond Tutu as the embodiment of faith in action and as someone who spoke out against injustices.
“Tutu was a living embodiment of faith in action, speaking boldly against racism, injustice, corruption, and oppression, not just in apartheid South Africa but wherever in the world he saw wrongdoing, especially when it impacted the most vulnerable and voiceless in society,” the foundation said.
This as South Africans woke up to news of Tutu’s passing on Sunday. The anti-Apartheid icon passed away in Cape Town on Sunday.
In a statement, the foundation described Tutu as a “moral giant of our age”.
“We…mourn his passing and extend deep sympathy to Mrs Nomalizo Leah Tutu, siblings Trevor Thamsanqa Tutu, Naomi Nontombi Tutu, Theresa Thandeka Tutu, Mpho Tutu van Furth and their families. We commit ourselves to continue telling the story and emulating the example of this son of Africa who became an inspiring sign of peace, hope and justice across the world,” it said.
The foundation highlighted that although Tutu helped in the fight against Apartheid, he was unafraid of also speaking out against any injustices in South Africa’s new democratic dispensation.
“While Tutu helped shepherd the democratic dispensation into being, he was unafraid of reminding the new governing party of both its moral responsibilities toward all South Africans and its growing failings. He was realistic about the weaknesses of politicians but expressed both sadness and anger as corruption took hold in the ANC.
“The wider world showered him with honours, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, and after retirement his primary international responsibility was with a group of fellow Nobel Peace Laureates and statespersons known as ‘The Elders,’ committed to international problem-solving and peace-making”.
Meanwhile, the Nelson Mandela Foundation described the passing of Tutu as an immeasurable loss for the country.
“He was larger than life, and for so many in South Africa and around the world his life has been a blessing. His contributions to struggles against injustice, locally and globally, are matched only by the depth of his thinking about the making of liberatory futures for human societies.
“He was an extraordinary human being. A thinker. A leader. A shepherd. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult time.”
Mandela and Tutu were both founding members of The Elders, an international grouping of inspirational leaders which has done human rights work in countries around the world.
Mandela and the Archbishop Emeritus first met at a debating competition in the early 1950s. It would be four decades later before they met again, on the day that Mandela was released from prison.
“His first night as a free man was spent at the home of the Tutus in Bishopscourt, Cape Town. On that occasion before everyone retired for the night, Tutu offered a prayer of thanksgiving and led a singing of Reverend Tiyo Soga’s famous hymn in isiXhosa, ‘Lizalis’idinga lakho’ – ‘Let your will be done’.
“The apartheid state had frustrated attempts by both Mandela and Tutu for the two of them to meet before the prison release on 11 February 1990. From then until Mandela passed away in 2013 they were in regular contact and their friendship deepened over time,” said the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Source: South African Government News Agency