South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa says the passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu marked another chapter of bereavement of the nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans.
Ramaphosa said this on Sunday, in a statement issued to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), by his Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele.
Archbishop Tutu, the last surviving South African anti-apartheid activist and Nobel Peace laureate, passed away in Cape Town at the age of 90 on Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021.
Ramaphosa said, “The passing of Archbishop Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans, who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa.
“Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism, who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.
“A man of extraordinary intellect, integrity and invincibility against the forces of apartheid.
“He was also tender and vulnerable in his compassion for those who had suffered oppression, injustice and violence under apartheid, oppressed and downtrodden people around the world.
“As Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he articulated the universal outrage at the ravages of apartheid, touchingly and profoundly demonstrated the depth of meaning of Ubuntu, reconciliation and forgiveness.”
He explained that the Archbishop placed his extensive academic achievements at the service of the nation’s struggle and at the service of the cause for social and economic justice around the world.
Ramaphosa identified such struggles from pavements of resistance in South Africa, to pulpits of the world’s great Cathedrals and places of worship, and the prestigious setting of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
“Tutu distinguished himself as a non-sectarian, inclusive champion of universal human rights; in his richly inspiring, yet challenging life, Archbishop Tutu overcame tuberculosis.
“The brutality of the apartheid security forces and the intransigence of successive apartheid regimes. “Neither Casspirs, teargas nor security agents could intimidate him or deter him from his steadfast belief in our liberation.
“He remained true to his convictions during our democratic dispensation and maintained his vigour and vigilance.
“Even, as he held leadership and the burgeoning institutions of our democracy to account in his inimitable, inescapable and always fortifying way,” he added.
Ramaphosa also expressed condolences to the wife of the Archbishop, Mam Leah Tutu, saying that she played key role to the success recorded in his lifetime.
“We share this moment of deep loss with Mam Leah Tutu, the Archbishop’s soul mate and source of strength and insight.
“Also, on who has made a monumental contribution, in her own right, to our freedom and to the development of our democracy.
“We pray that Archbishop Tutu’s soul will rest in peace, but that his spirit will stand sentry over the future of our nation,” he said.
He further expressed heartfelt condolences to Leah Tutu, the Tutu family, the board and staff of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, the Elders and the Nobel Laureate Group.
More so, to the friends, comrades and associates nationally and globally of the iconic spiritual leader, anti-apartheid activist and global human rights campaigner. (NAN)