Tributes continue to pour in for South Africa’s Desmond Tutu

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and veteran of South Africa’s struggle against white minority rule, died on Sunday aged 90, the presidency said.

Following are some reactions to his death.


“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.”


“Desmond Tutu’s legacy is moral strength, moral courage and clarity. He felt with the people. In public and alone, he cried because he felt people’s pain. And he laughed – no, not just laughed, he cackled with delight when he shared their joy.”


“His contributions to struggles against injustice, locally and globally, are matched only by the depth of his thinking about the making of liberatory futures for human societies. He was an extraordinary human being. A thinker. A leader. A shepherd.”


“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.”


“Desmond Tutu combined the struggle against apartheid with important contribution to reconciliation between people. He contributed to a better world with his work against racial segregation policy, and in his later days he became a leading figure in the fight for gay rights.”

BOBI WINE (Ugandan politician, actor and musician)

“The news of the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu is very sad. A giant has fallen. We thank God for his life- a purposeful life, truly lived in the service of humanity. May his soul rest in peace. Condolences to all people world-over who were touched by his life and ministry.”

RICHARD BRANSON (founder of the Virgin Group)

“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.”

BRYAN HABANA (rugby legend)

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. Archbishop Desmond Tutu R.I.P good sir. Thank you for your positivity, passion, courage, leadership & unwavering commitment to making this world a better place.”

REV RICHARD COLES (former of the pop group The Communards, Anglican priest)

“RIP Desmond Tutu. He came to talk to us at college, and remembered when he was a teenager in Johannesburg seeing Fr Trevor Huddleston (another alumnus) raise his hat to his mother, the first time had seen a white man treat a black woman as an equal. Stayed with him all his life.”


“Exceedingly heartsore to note the passing of Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu. He was one of the best among us. He brought light to darkness and lightness to heaviness. Heartfelt condolences to Mam Leah, the family, friends and staff. May his unconquerable soul.”

JUSTIN WELBY (Archbishop of Canterbury)

“Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a prophet and priest, a man of words and action – one who embodied the hope and joy that were the foundations of his life. Even in our profound sorrow we give thanks for a life so well lived. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”

DR YARA HARAWI (Palestinian academic)

“At 90 years old Archbishop Desmond Tutu-a giant in the the fight against South African apartheid- has sadly passed away. He was also a staunch supporter of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli Apartheid. Rest in Power Archbishop Desmond Tutu.”

ARINAITWE RUGYENDO (Ugandan Tutu Fellow)

“Rest In Peace Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a foster father to us Tutu Fellow. Proud to hold your flag while living up to the ideals you have inculcated in our continental network. Your legacy shall live on as we continue to espouse authentic & servant leadership in all that we do!”

NICOLA STURGEON (First Minister of Scotland)

“Such sad news this morning…but his was a life that made the world a better place. Rest in peace, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.”

HANAN ASHRAWI (former Palestinian leader)

“Palestine mourns the passing of Desmond Tutu, whose humanity & compassion were equalled only by his courage & principled commitment in our shared struggle for justice & freedom. His support for Palestine was an embrace of love & empathy. I’m honoured to have had him as a friend.”

GORDON BROWN (former UK Prime Minister)

“So sad that one of the great leaders in the fight against apartheid Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has died. I am one of many who was privileged to count him as friend. His values will live on in the influence he has on the people he leaves behind.”

MARY ROBINSON (Chair of The Elders, former Irish president)

“We are all devastated at the loss of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Elders would not be who they are today without his passion, commitment and keen moral compass. He inspired me to be a ‘prisoner of hope’, in his inimitable phrase. Arch was respected around the world for his dedication to justice, equality and freedom. Today we mourn his death but affirm our determination to keep his beliefs alive.”


“Hamba kahle Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu. In death all quarelles (sic) cease to exist. You shall be remembered as the author of the TRC which brought no truth or reconciliation.”


Media briefing on the passing of the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu: