South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a key figure in the fight against Apartheid, dies at 90

The Archbishop emeritus of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Desmond Tutu, one of the great symbols of the fight against Apartheid, died this Sunday at the age of 90 in Cape Town, as announced by the South African Government.

The announcement of his death has been made by the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who has described his death as “another episode of national mourning during the farewell to a generation that gave us a liberated South Africa”, in the official statement collected by News24.

Tutu had been hospitalized several times in recent years to treat infections associated with the prostate cancer he suffered from during the 1990s.

Finally, Tutu passed away “in peace” during his convalescence at the Oasis elderly care center in Cape Town, as confirmed by Dr. Ramphela Mamphele, interim president of the archbishop’s foundation, in a Statement on behalf of the Tutu family, without giving details on the cause of death.

Tutu’s name is linked by importance to that of the great leader of the Civil Rights struggle in South Africa, Nelson Mandela, united despite their differences in the fight against Apartheid in South Africa; a policy of racial segregation “by nature evil, immoral and absolutely irreconcilable with the word of God”, declared in his day the Anglican priest, born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, in the old republic of the Transvaal, during what was known at that time like the Union of South Africa.

His figure began to gain extraordinary prominence in 1978, as director of the South African Ecclesiastical Council, spearheading its campaign against segregation. Six years later, Tutu would receive the Nobel Peace Prize, before being elected as Archbishop of Cape Town in 1986, one of the most violent years of the Apartheid era.

At that time, Tutu redoubled his efforts to get sanctions against the government, led protest marches and used his pulpit to challenge state repression. With Nelson Mandela’s victory as the first president of the Republic of South Africa in 1994, Tutu assumed a new role as chairman of the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The commission investigated the Apartheid atrocities, and Tutu went on to adopt a unifying role between the country’s whites and blacks, while taking a critical stance against successive governments of the historic African National Congress, Mandela’s party, which he criticized for years. for his corruption scandals, the biggest obstacle to reaching the utopia of the “rainbow nation” that he hoped the country would become.

From 2007 to 2013, already in his last years of public life, Tutu chaired the organization Los Ancianos, an independent group of veteran world leaders who worked together for peace and Human Rights.

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