A New York Times obituary summed it all up in this headline reporting the death of Archbishop Tutu on December 26, followed by tributes from around the world to the renowned patriot of peace.
The archbishop was 90 years old when he passed away in Cape Town, South Africa. His advocacy of non-violence during the yearslong anti-apartheid movement in his native land was recognized globally when Mr. Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
Among the first to pay tribute was South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who described him as “a patriot without equal, a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the Biblical insight that faith without works is dead.”
Tributes from around the globe
*President Biden: “We were blessed to spend time with this man of courage on several occasions over the past many years. His courage and moral clarity helped inspire our commitment to change American policy toward the repressive apartheid regime in South Africa.
“We felt his warmth and joy when we visited him during the 2010 World Cup that celebrated the diversity and beauty of his beloved nation. And, just a few months ago, we joined the world in celebrating his 90th birthday and reflecting the power of his message of justice, equality, truth, and reconciliation as we confront racism and extremism in our time today.”
*Former President Obama: “Archbishop Tutu was a mentor, friend, and moral compass for me and so many others. A universal spirit, Archbishop Tutu was grounded in the struggle for liberation in his own country, but also concerned about injustice everywhere. He never lost his impish sense of humor and willingness to find humanity in his adversaries, and Michelle and I will miss him dearly.”
*Britain’s Queen Elizabeth: “I am joined by the entire Royal Family in being deeply saddened by the news of Desmond Tutu’s passing. I remember with fondness my meetings with him and his great warmth and humour.”
A brief summary of Archbishop Tutu’s legendary career
Nicknamed “The Arch”, Mr. Tutu was named the first black Anglican of Capetown, South Africa in 1986 and was a driving force to end racial discrimination in South Africa from as far back as 1948 until the early 1990s.
Worldwide, he earned countless doctorates and academic honors, chief among them the Noble Peace Prize cited above nearly four decades ago.
Words of wisdom once uttered by the great Archbishop Tutu seems to be especially appropriate as we encounter 2022:
“We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome: black, white, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, gay, straight, all, all, all. We all belong to this family, this human family, God’s family.”
As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More