Tutu was at the forefront of apartheid struggle: Reverend Chikane

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Reverend Frank Chikane says the late Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was at the forefront during the struggle against apartheid. Tutu died on Sunday morning in Cape Town.

He says Tutu stood between people and the then security forces.

Chikane says he used to ask for advice and direction from Tutu during difficult times.

“Telling the truth and standing for the truth. I learnt a lot from him and he inspired me. He encouraged a lot of us, he was always there whenever I needed him. I could make a call there is a massacre in Sebokeng, he would stop his programme in Canada at that moment and fly back to be with me in that situation. He has been the pastor of the people.”

Rev. Chikane pays tribute:

Tutu’s Soweto home

Tutu’s neighbours in Soweto have reflected on his passing, describing him as a father, a community activist and a people’s person who was forever smiling.

As SABC News’ Tshepo Phagane reports from Tutu’s Soweto home, there hasn’t been much activity outside Desmond and Leah Tutu’s home on Bacela street in Orlando West – the house where the couple lived in the 1970s.

The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary there, according to a plague of the Heritage South Africa mounted on the outside wall of the house.

Many of the neighbours who spoke to SABC News were teenagers when Tutu and Mme Leah lived in Soweto. However, they remember Tutu as an active person who exercised each morning and encouraged youngsters to join him on his workouts.

One resident Nkele Chakela says the Tutus were a loving couple who gave food and clothes to some of their parents who were too poor to afford them. She described Tutu as a father who cared about the community adding that his passing is a loss to the entire Soweto.

Defending human rights

 The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says it will continue the late Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s legacy of defending the rights of the people particularly the poor and destitute within society.

Tutu is most revered for speaking out against racism, injustice, corruption, and oppression wherever it happened throughout the world.

Human Rights Commissioner Reverend Chris Nissen shared some fond memories of Archbishop Tutu.

“The marches in Cape Town during the early 80s, the church services which we attended together, where we listened to him. Meetings in which we were part of, the strong wisdom and counsel always guided hot heads like myself and others,” says Reverend Nissen.

Tributes continue to pour in for Desmond Tutu: 

‘Seed of forgiveness’

A Kimberley-based priest says the late Anglican Archbishop sowed the seed of forgiveness and people should continue his legacy.  Priest of the St. Mary’s Cathedral says many leaders can learn from what Tutu stood for.

Catholic priest Victor Tlholo reflects on the late Archbishop’s life.

“Archbishop Desmond Tutu was the man whom I knew as a man who practiced forgiveness in South Africa, especially, with the Truth and Reconciliation where he was involved in asking people to forgive each other despite what happened. Whatever the struggles they faced in their own lives. He reminded us that our God is a God who forgives and that’s what I remember about him – because he was a man of forgiveness and wanted people to reconcile with each other.”

The South African Council of Churches has called on people to celebrate the life and ministry of Emeritus Desmond Tutu. They described the venerated cleric as a witness for the justice that God demands of all of us.

Lifelong human rights and social justice champion

Global peace and anti-apartheid struggle cleric and icon, Tutu lived and preached the values of justice, forgiveness and equality.

Tutu was born in Klerksdorp on the 7th October 1931 to parents Zacahriah Tutu and Aletta Mathlare. Baptised as Methodist, the family became Anglicans in 1943.

At the age of 12, his family and other residents were removed to areas such as Kanana and Jouberton under the Group Areas Act. He completed his Senior Certificate in 1950 and later enrolled at the Pretoria Bantu Normal College to study education.

He continued his studies and completed a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Africa in 1954.

Tutu quit as a teacher in protest against the implementation of the Bantu Education Act. He left South Africa to further his theological studies in London in 1962 and obtained his Master’s of Theology degree from King’s College.

Tutu became the first Black Anglican Dean of Johannesburg.

He was consecrated as Bishop on the 11th of July 1976 – in the wake of the Soweto student uprising.

In 1978, Tutu was appointed as the general secretary of the South African Council of Churches. Under his leadership, the church in South Africa became immersed in the anti-apartheid political struggle.

Tutu constantly told the apartheid government that its racist approach defied the will of God.

-Additional reporting by Vanessa Poonah and Tshepo Phagane