Desmond Tutu, the cleric and social activist who was a giant of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, has died aged 90
Tutu a ‘beacon of light’ for human rights around the world, says Amnesty International South Africa
Amnesty International in South Africa has described Tutu as a “beacon of light” for human rights globally and “a much needed moral compass” for South Africa.
Shenilla Mohamed, Amnesty International South Africa’s executive director, said:
His commitment to equality and rights for all served as a much needed moral compass during the turbulent apartheid era. Even after South Africa obtained freedom in 1994, the Archbishop continued to be an outspoken, passionate human rights activist
He was never afraid to call out human rights violators no matter who they were and his legacy must be honoured by continuing his work to ensure equality for all.
The organisation sent condolences to Mam Leah Tutu, the archbishop’s wife, and his family and friends.
The UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, tweeted:
Saddened to hear of archbishop Desmond Tutu’s death. He was a driving force behind ending apartheid in South Africa and a worthy winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
My thoughts are with the people of South Africa.
Strictly Come Dancing stars Oti and Motsi Mabuse, who grew up in South Africa, also paid tribute to Tutu.
Oti, a dancer on the BBC show, wrote on Twitter that his death was “sad news” and a “major loss” for South Africa.
Her sister Motsi, who is a Strictly judge, shared a Tutu quote:
Tutu foundation say they are ‘devastated’ by archbishop’s death, but say it has ‘strengthened our resolve to spread his warmth and compassion’
The Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation, founded by the retired archbishop and his wife, said:
We are devastated that the Arch is no longer with us, but his passing has strengthened our resolve to spread his warmth and compassion even further afield.
In more reaction to Tutu’s death, Basim Naeem, a senior official for Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas, told Reuters:
Our Palestinian people lost a strong supporter of their march towards freedom and independence. Father Desmond Tutu spent his entire life struggling against racism and defending human rights and especially on the Palestinian land.
Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, told Reuters:
Father Desmond Tutu was one of the biggest supporters of the Palestinian cause. He had always advocated the rights of the Palestinians to gain their freedom and rejected Israeli occupation and Apartheid
Thebe Ikalafeng, founder of Brand Africa, told Sky that Tutu “represented the goodness of humanity”.
Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has paid tribute to Tutu:
Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King, said:
Archbishop of Canterbury says Tutu was ‘a prophet and priest’
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, tweeted:
In a statement he said:
The death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu (always known as Arch) is news that we receive with profound sadness – but also with profound gratitude as we reflect upon his life.
My prayers and condolences are with his family and all who loved him, with the Anglican Church of the Province of Southern Africa, and all of the people of South Africa.
Arch’s love transformed the lives of politicians and priests, township dwellers and world leaders. The world is different because of this man.
World feels ‘smaller’ without Tutu, says archbishop of York
Stephen Cottrell, the archbishop of York, said in a statement:
One of the great and abiding images of the second half of the 20th century was Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela dancing in the courtroom at the end of the closing session of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Cape Town. Nelson Mandela asked his friend Desmond Tutu to chair the Commission.
It was a bold and creative way of helping a nation divided brutally between black and white learn to live in glorious technicolour by facing up to the horrors of its past and by putting the Christian imperative for forgiveness alongside the need for truth as the only way of achieving reconciliation.
And Desmond Tutu was asked to chair it because this incredibly joyful little disciple of Jesus Christ was one of the few people in South Africa other than Nelson Mandela himself, who could unite the nation and carry the trust of everyone.
In this respect, he was a giant.
The world itself feels a little smaller without him. His expansive vision of how the Christian faith shapes the whole of life has touched many hearts and changed many lives. The Anglican church in particular gives thanks for one of its greatest saints. But Christian people everywhere, and all people of goodwill, will today be mourning the loss of someone who showed the world what following Jesus looks like and where it leads.
Our prayers today are particularly with his family and with our sisters and brothers in the Anglican Church of South Africa. When I go to my chapel this morning to celebrate the Eucharist on this, Saint Stephen’s day, I may dance a little jig in thankful memory of this wonderful human being. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.