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Somewhere up in heaven, there is a peal of mischievous laughter as Desmond Mpilo Tutu contemplates the irony that his death united black and white extremists in their condemnations of him.
The man who conceived the idea of a Rainbow Nation and preached incessantly about unity and reconciliation would probably be chuckling something like: “You see! They can agree on something!”
Supporters of the radical economic transformation gospel espoused by former president Jacob Zuma and his hangers-on, together with the EFF, have pilloried The Arch for a compendium of his alleged “sins”.
These include allegedly being nasty to struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, whose brutal Mandela Football Club thugs murdered Stompie Seipei in the late ’80s.
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Tutu is also accused of being a sell-out because the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process, which he chaired, did not result in any of the alleged apartheid perpetrators of atrocities being brought to book.
On the other side, virulent right-wingers – mainly white – have still not forgiven the “turbulent priest” for his role in calling out apartheid, which was eventually declared a crime against humanity, nor for his staunch support of Palestine and criticism of Israel, for which he is accused of anti-Semitism.
They wonder – in letters to newspapers and on social media – why Tutu is being deified when he was a religious politician with feet of clay.
The truth is, to most of the world anyway, that Tutu was a man of God, a man of conscience and a man of honour. He called out injustice wherever he saw it – and spared the ANC government no mercy when it came to pointing out their failures.
Tutu annoyed many people – and he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. For the feelings of people were always secondary to the work and word of God.
Rest in peace, Arch.
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