Monday marks the first anniversary of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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Monday marks the first anniversary of the death of global peace icon Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. The anti-apartheid struggle cleric died on the Day of Goodwill in Cape Town last year, at the age of 90.

The official announcement of Tutu’s death was made by the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, from the SABC’s studios in Sea Point. He said the archbishop was driven by his deep faith in God. Speaking after the arch’s death, Makgoba said the elder cleric lived his life according to the teachings of scripture.

“Without betraying my pastoral confidence. He was frail, at 90, and we know that 60 years he was diagnosed with some condition and God has been really gracious to the arch and carried him through and as you heard from the dean, he is an amazing human being. Always full of gratitude. For him thanksgiving was at the core of everything that he did. As Anglicans, we have what we call as Eucharist and at the centre of Eucharist, is an attitude of gratitude. So, he was full of gratitude let me say thank you kea leboga, yes.”

A global outpouring of grief and condolences followed the news of the beloved arch’s death. His wish was to have a simple remembrance and send off. Lying in state at his beloved St. George’s Cathedral, thousands of mourners came to pay their respects. This is what some of them had to say.

“As a youngster, I can enjoy my freedom and all these rights today and when I ask about theological as a Christian the way that he has led us so far, for me it’s important to come out and say thank you tata for what you have meant for us and your contribution to society.”

“The one thing that stands for me is that he always said there is no such thing as a hopeless situation and I hang onto that, we loved him, he was such an inspiration.”

The Arch’s family said the best way to honour their father is to continue his own fight against injustice and inequality.

His daughter, Mpho Tutu van Furth, “I would like my father’s memory to be kept alive in young people who are committed to justice. Who are opposed to gender-based violence and church that is committed to ending poverty and exclusion. My father’s memory kept alive to share the wealth of the nation to end poverty. His legacy kept alive in every possible entitlement for everyone to be treated with utmost dignity irrespective of their circumstance, disability and gender.”

Six days after his death, his funeral service was held at St. George’s Cathedral. In a simple coffin, adorned with flowers from his own garden, the world had to finally say goodbye. But, his words, teachings and above all actions, will live on.

“I believe we have the capacity to be one of the most wonderful countries in the world. We could be a truly compassionate country where everyone was cared for, where no one went to bed hungry, where everyone mattered, and knew they mattered whether they were poor or uneducated, they would matter because they created in the image of God,” words of the late Arch.

Tutu might have been a man of serious words and led the fight against injustice the world over, but he also had an immense sense of humour that he simply couldn’t contain. No speech, talk or comment that he made was complete without a little quip, long story or joke he enjoyed sharing. The Arch touched all, in some way or another. And the world will remember the moral leader, but also the man of God who enjoyed a thorough chuckle.

“Archbishop said you are recognised everywhere. It’s not entirely the case because here some children, three-year-olds were shown pictures of various public figures and they recognised Madiba instantaneously, all of them and then they showed them a picture of the Archbishop of Cape Town and one of the children said ah! That’s the pink panther…Chuckles…The pink panther is leaving, and the pink panther is going to miss you. Thank you very much.”

One year since the death of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu: