Anti-Apartheid Activist Desmond Tutu Dead at Age 90

Desmond Tutu. | Image from BBC

Desmond Tutu, an anti-apartheid activist who attempted to heal the world, has died at the age of 90.

Tutu was a global symbol of nonviolent resistance to injustice. He was the head of the Anglican Church in South Africa while also leading the fight against apartheid. In 2006, he stated, “Opposing apartheid was a matter of justice.”

In recent years, Tutu had been hospitalized several times after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997, Malta Today reported.

Tutu led South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission after Nelson Mandela was elected president in 1994. The first-of-its-kind judicial commission called on apartheid-era perpetrators to apologize to victims, who publicly shared their stories.

Tutu was a talented orator who incorporated humor, observations, and passion into his speeches.

“Sometimes strident, often tender, never afraid and seldom without humor, Desmond Tutu’s voice will always be the voice of the voiceless,” Mandela said, according to MSN.com.

Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his efforts to bring attention to apartheid’s discrimination.

He was named Archbishop of Cape Town, the first black bishop of the city’s two million congregant church.

Tutu continued his quest to end injustice as a founding member of the Elders, an organization of former world leaders who worked together to promote human rights and world peace until he decided to retire from public life in 2010.

“Rather than growing old gracefully at home with my family, reading, and writing, praying and thinking,” he said at the time, “too much of my time has been spent at airports and in hotels. Rather than attending conferences, conventions, and university campuses, the time has come to slow down, to sip Rooibos tea with my beloved wife in the afternoons, to watch cricket, and to travel to see my children and grandchildren.”

Tutu is survived by his wife, Nomalizo Leah Tutu, four children, and several grandchildren. He is mourned by a nation that has lost one of the world’s most articulate voices for justice.

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