/ 26 December 2021

‘Archbishop Tutu was an apostle of peace and light’

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

The death of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has gripped the entire nation with a deep embrace of shock. As we grieve, we thank Almighty God for the memorable years that he gave to this beloved purveyor of justice and humility.

His death gives us cause to ponder how he touched our lives. His commitment to social justice and reconciliation, to human rights and the dignity of the human person will be gratefully remembered. The world pays tribute to his immense and unique contribution to peace and justice and his emphasis on the dignity and worth of every individual from conception to the grave. His courage in denouncing international military interventions and his relentless fight against racism over the past 60 years will be remembered by many generations to come. We are devastated to lose our national symbol of truth, love and hope.

Few individuals have had a greater impact — not just religiously, but socially and morally — on the modern world as did Archbishop Tutu. A formidable foe of racism and global aggression against weaker nations, he is by any measure one of the most celebrated and inspiring leaders of the past few decades. He fearlessly condemned racism and totalitarianism, as he fought for peace and justice with equal vigour.

Archbishop Tutu, during the span of his extraordinary lifetime, fought hard for a just world. Beloved Arch was a rare breed, a passionate human rights defender who took on the mighty, the corrupt, the powerful, and the defiant in his crusade for global peace.

His message to the whole of humanity was that our wounded world was yearning for peace. At the Truth and Reconciliation Commission his poignant message was peace and reconciliation. He was absolutely fair to both victims and to the architects of apartheid who participated in crimes against humanity. He graphically exposed the monstrosity of racism and oppression.

The brilliant and sparkling light that illuminated our country and our global landscape amid darkness and chaos has gone out. History will remember Archbishop Tutu as the most elevating and inspiring man of our age. It is this quality of all embracing warmth which stands out most prominently in his character.

Our only consolation in this hour of immense grief is that his life of truth and tolerance, and his immense quest for justice and total equality for his fellow humans inspire our troubled and war-torn world to save itself by following his noble example.

Farewell my friend and mentor, Hamba kahle Archbishop Desmond Tutu, beloved son of Africa — the apostle of peace and light in Africa.