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Desmond Tutu: End of an era

Desmond Tutu: End of an era

As I was preparing to write my article for publication, news filtered in on the demise of Bishop Desmond Tutu. Tutu was a prominent figure in the fight against apartheid (institutionalized racial segregation against black) in South Africa. He died at the age of 90. It is only right for me to drop my earlier researched topic and give my tribute great Icon of Africa 

He was born on October 7, 1931 in Klerksdorp, South Africa, and started his pastoral journey when he was ordained as Anglican priest in 1960. He served as Bishop of Lesotho between 1976 and 1978. He was Bishop of Johannesburg in 1985, after which he was appointed as the Archbishop of Cape Town in 1986. The role he held until 1996.

Tutu fought vehemently against apartheid and injustice both in terms of deeds and actions which earned him recognition across the globe. It was in this regards that he was invited to United Nations General Assembly in 1985 to address the world leaders about the viciousness of racial segregation that was ongoing in South Africa at the time. He compared apartheid to the same vicious and evil perpetrated by Adolf Hitler to cleanse Aryan race of impurity which made him to wage war of extermination of Jews living in Europe.

He led a struggle from the pulpit against any forms of injustice both on Africa soil and global, and his role in this regard can not be overemphasized.  Wherever there is injustice, Tutu always lend his voice against it, he boldly talked against Israeli occupation of  Palestinian territory in the Middle East.

For his genuine efforts against apartheid, Tutu was awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, which according to Nobel Committee was based on the iconic bishop role as a unifying leader in the non-violent camps to resolve the cancerous activity of apartheid.

Nelson Mandela, his co-travelers in the struggle against racial segregation in the country became president of South Africa in 1993 after spending 27 years in prison. In 1995, Mandela appointed him to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was responsible with collecting evidence on apartheid-era crimes.

Bishop Tutu In His Words

As we are mourning the loss of Archbishop Demond Tutu, let us looked back on his quotes and words of wisdom. The below are some of his words of wisdom on variety of situations 

On Injustice:  “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

On charity: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

On hope: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

On conflict resolution: “If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” 

On perseverance: “Discovering more joy does not save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak. In fact, we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily too. Perhaps we are just more alive. Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreaks without being broken.” 

See Also

On humanity: “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”

The above are some of his words of wisdom that are relevant up to this moment.

As the last of the generation on both divides of apartheid, his demise follows that of FW de Klerk, South Africa’s last apartheid president that oversees the transmission from apartheid to democratic nation. De Klerk passed away at the age of 85 in November.

His death is a great loss to Africa. He fought against injustice in the form of racial profiling. Now the world is profiling Africa as corona virus continent, which is against what he fought for. 

Who is going to take on his mantle of calmness?

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