Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who helped lead the movement that ended apartheid, the unjust system of white rule in South Africa and won a Nobel Peace Prize, passed away today in Cape Town, the country’s president Cryil Ramaphosa confirmed Sunday. Tutu was 90.
Ramaphosa stated: “[A] leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.”
The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said the cause of Tutu’s death was cancer, adding that Tutu died in a care facility. The archbishop was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997, and had been hospitalized several times in the decades since.
To quote from the New York Times:
As leader of the South African Council of Churches and later as Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, Archbishop Tutu led the church to the forefront of Black South Africans’ decades-long struggle for freedom. His voice was a powerful force for nonviolence in the anti-apartheid movement, earning him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
When that movement triumphed in the early 1990s, he prodded the country toward a new relationship between its white and Black citizens, and, as chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he gathered testimony documenting the viciousness of apartheid.
“You are overwhelmed by the extent of evil,” he said. But, he added, it was necessary to open the wound to cleanse it. In return for an honest accounting of past crimes, the committee offered amnesty, establishing what Archbishop Tutu called the principle of restorative — rather than retributive — justice.
His credibility was crucial to the commission’s efforts to get former members of the South African security forces and former guerrilla fighters to cooperate with the inquiry.
Archbishop Tutu preached that the policy of apartheid was as dehumanizing to the oppressors as it was to the oppressed. At home, he stood against looming violence and sought to bridge the chasm between Black and white; abroad, he urged economic sanctions against the South African government to force a change of policy.
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/26/world/africa/desmond-tutu-dead.html