Condolence messages from all over the world were being sent to the family of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu who passed away early on Boxing Day.
British prime minister, Boris Johnson, has said that he is “deeply saddened” by the death of the archbishop.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu,” said Johnson.
“He was a critical figure in the fight against apartheid and in the struggle to create a new South Africa – and will be remembered for his spiritual leadership and irrepressible good humour.”
Former US president, Barack Obama, said: “Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a mentor, a friend, and a moral compass for me and so many others.
“A universal spirit, Archbishop Tutu was grounded in the struggle for liberation and justice in his own country, but also concerned with injustice everywhere.”
British Tycoon Richard Branson said: “I’m so sad that Archbishop Tutu has passed away – the world has lost a giant. He was a brave leader, a mischievous delight, a profound thinker, and a dear friend.”
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said: “Tutu inspired a generation of African leaders who embraced his non-violent approaches in the liberation struggle”
In South Africa, President Cyril Rampahosa said: “The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond 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, and oppressed and downtrodden people around the world.”
The African National Congress (ANC) said it joins South Africans and the global community in mourning the sad passing of Archbishop Emeritus Tutu.
The Arch, who was also South Africa’s last surviving Nobel Peace Prize laureate, passed away today(Sunday, 26 December 2021) in Cape Town at the age of 90.
Born in Klerksdorp in the North West province, Archbishop Tutu is an internationally renowned spiritual leader, anti-apartheid activist, and global human rights campaigner.
“The Arch was not only an extraordinary human being … he also served as a reminder of the role that he and many other religious leaders played in bringing apartheid to its knees and restoring the dignity of all South Africans,” said the ANC.
“His selfless service to his church and country tells the story of a man who has etched his name in the history books.”
The Arch dedicated his life to the service of the people of South Africa, leading tirelessly from the front for the liberation of our country and the arduous process of building common nationhood, which he endearingly dubbed the Rainbow Nation.
During his tenure as the chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Archbishop Tutu, pulled no punches in condemning the atrocities committed by the apartheid regime and it’s architects, against black South Africans.
Following the fall of apartheid, Archbishop Tutu campaigned for gay rights and spoke on a wide range of subjects, among them the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, his opposition and conscientised the world about climate change. He retired from public life in 2010.
“Indeed the big baobab tree has fallen. South Africa and the mass democratic movement has lost a tower of moral conscience and an epitome of wisdom,” said the ANC.
“We extend our revolutionary condolences to his wife Mama Leah Tutu, his family, friends as well as colleagues at the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.”
John Steenhuisen the leader of the biggest opposition party the Democratic Alliance said: “We mourn a true South African hero who showed us the best we could be”.
He added: “He worked towards ending stigmas of all kinds, speaking out against the infringement of LGBTIQ rights across Africa.
“He was a most wonderful individual, possessing both great kindness and great courage. A true father of our nation, and a role model for all, who never shied from speaking truth to power.
“For almost three decades since, he has been a voice of reason and compassion against poverty, racism, xenophobia, and corruption, and for human development.”
“We have lost a most remarkable, special individual … We extend our deepest condolences to his wife and family and other loved ones.”
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) said it joins the country and the world in mourning the passing of Archbishop Emeritus Tutu.
The TAC said it will also remember him fondly for his passionate advocacy for health.
TAC General Secretary Anele Yawa said of Bishop Tutu, “he was an activist who fought against the evil system of Apartheid when it was dangerous to speak out against it.
“Bishop Tutu’s work supporting the fight against AIDS denialism is also a reflection of the principled stance he had, no matter the personal cost.”
Speaking in 2014, Archbishop Tutu said “HIV/AIDS brought out the worst and best in us. Political paralysis caused delay and confusion. Death blighted the land. But citizen activism … restored hope and dignity.
The June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation said it was greatly saddened by the news of the passing of “our beloved father”.
The foundation added: “We have lost a moral campus giant who spoke truth to power and led this country during a very difficult time and an advocate of Truth and Reconciliation.
“Our since condolences to Mma Leah and the children. May his beautiful soul rest in eternal peace.
“We thank him for the enormous contribution he made to this country and the world at large.”
Auntie Pat’s GOOD party described Tutu as a “bearer of ancient wisdom who lived before his time”.
“He dared to paint a picture of inclusivity, tolerance, dignity and justice – in an era in which humanity was careening towards social and environmental injustice on tidal waves of greed, inequality and division.”
GOOD Secretary-General Brett Herron said the archbishop understood that all people have weaknesses and vulnerabilities, for which he was generally very forgiving who described himself as a prisoner of hope.
“He never stopped hoping that humans would recognise the equal worth in each other, their inter-dependence, and treat each other and the world with a great deal more love and reverence.”
In the last phase of his life, over the past two decades, his professional career over, the Archbishop represented the country and continent with the utmost integrity as a global icon of leadership and morality.
“To Mrs. Leah Tutu, the couple’s four children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, we send our most heartfelt condolences. May this exceptional human treasure rest in peace and rise in glory,” said the GOOD party.
A communique from the new Mayor of Cape Town Geordin Hill-Lewis’s office said: “Today our city and our nation has lost our beloved Arch.
“It is with great sadness that we bid farewell today to a man whose life was a living blessing to us all.
“Archbishop Desmond Tutu shaped South Africa for the better in ways that very few have done or will do.
“I know I speak for the whole city in conveying our deep condolences to Mama Leah, the entire Tutu family, and to his extended family in the global Anglican Church.
“We mourn the passing of the greatest Capetonian, and one of the last giants of our time.
“The Arch and Madiba were a formidable pair who together served as South Africa’s moral compass and vocal and critical conscience.
“Their unforgettable partnership will leave a lasting legacy in helping to heal the wounds of our country.”
More condolences and tributes continue to poor in.