Desmond Tutu, symbol of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, died at the age of 90

The Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a symbol of the fight against apartheid in south africa, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, died on Sunday at the age of 90, unleashing a wave of tributes to honor one of the last icons of this generation.

“The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of mourning for our nation that dismisses a generation of south africans exceptional events that bequeathed us a liberated country, “said President Cyril Ramaphosa in a statement.

“A man of extraordinary intelligence, integrity, and invincibility against the forces of apartheidHe was also tender and vulnerable in his compassion for those who had suffered oppression, injustice and violence under apartheid, “recalled Ramaphosa.

Leaders and former leaders from around the world prepared to honor the religious: “The Archbishop Desmond Tutu He was a mentor, a friend and a moral beacon, for me and for so many others, “said former US President Barack Obama, another Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The President of the European Council, representing the 27 EU countries, Charles Michel, paid tribute to “a man who gave his life for freedom with a deep commitment to human dignity”, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called him a “critical figure” in the struggle to create a new South Africa.

Queen Elizabeth II said she was “deeply saddened” by the death of the archbishop, while Pope Francis highlighted his role in “promoting racial equality and reconciliation,” and the Dalai Lama, a longtime friend of Tutu, praised ” a great man entirely dedicated to the service of his brothers and sisters. “

“Rainbow Nation”

After the arrival of democracy in 1994 and the election of his friend Nelson Mandela as president, Desmond Tutu, who gave South Africa The nickname “Rainbow Nation” chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR), created with the hope of turning the page on racial hatred.

The “Arch”, short for archbishop in English, was weakened by prostate cancer diagnosed in 1997 and no longer spoke in public, but he never forgot to greet the cameras present at his appearances.

The Mandela Foundation he reacted quickly, calling his departure an “immeasurable loss.”

“For so many people in South Africa and in the whole world, his life was a blessing “, affirmed the foundation that described him as a thinker, a leader and a pastor.

The tributes also came from the group of personalities known as “Los Mayores”, an organization founded in 2007 by Mandela and of which Tutu was its first president.

“” The Elders “lost a dear friend, whose infectious laughter and mischievous sense of humor enraptured and enchanted us,” they added.

Desmond Tutu He gained his notoriety in the darkest hours of apartheid when, as a religious leader, he led peaceful marches against segregation and to advocate for sanctions against the Pretoria white supremacist regime.

As Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta recalled Sunday, Tutu “inspired a generation of African leaders to embrace non-violent ways in the struggle for liberation.”

Unlike other militants of his time, his habits saved him from being imprisoned and his peaceful struggle was recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

True to his commitments, he was a harsh critic of the successive African National Congress (ANC) governments that fought the apartheid, and lashed out at former President Thabo Mbeki, but also pointed to corruption or failures in the fight against AIDS.

Across the board he criticized the “status quo” on issues such as race, gay rights or even gave his support to the movement in favor of assisted death.

And he looked death in the face.

“I have prepared myself for my death and I have made it clear that I do not want to be kept alive at any cost,” he said in a platform published in the newspaper. The Washington Post in 2016.

“I hope to be treated with compassion and to be allowed to move on to the next stage of life in any way that I choose,” he concluded.

After his death he leaves behind a widow, his wife known as “Mama Leah”, and four children.


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