Citizen Reporter
4 minute read
26 Dec 2021
1:56 pm

‘A spiritual leader’: Tributes pour in for Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Citizen Reporter

The ANC has described Tutu as 'an internationally renowned spiritual leader and global human rights campaigner'.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu visits the Brooklyn Chest Hospital vaccination site on 17 May 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

Anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu died Sunday aged 90, sparking tributes from around the world. 

Here are some of those tributes: 


The African National Congress (ANC) mourned Tutu’s death, describing the 90-year-old as “an internationally renowned spiritual leader, anti-apartheid activist and global human rights campaigner”.

“The Arch was not only an extraordinary human being, he also served as a reminder of the role that he and many other religious leaders played in bringing apartheid to its knees and restoring the dignity of all South Africans.

“His selfless service to his church and country tells the story of a man who has etched his name in the history books.” the party said in a statement.

“We extend our revolutionary condolences to his wife Mama Leah Tutu, his family, friends as well as colleagues at the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. May Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s soul rest in eternal peace,” the ANC continued to say.

Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama also expressed his condolences to the Tutu family.

“Please accept my heartfelt condolences and convey the same to your mother and other members of your family. I pray for him,” he said.

“As you know, over the years, your father and I enjoyed an enduring friendship.

“I remember the many occasions we spent time together, including the week here at Dharamsala in 2015 when we were able to share our thoughts on how to increase peace and joy in the world. The friendship and the spiritual bond between us was something we cherished.”

DA leader John Steenhuisen

DA leader John Steenhuisen has described the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu as a true South African giant.

“Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu left an indelible mark on the fabric of South African society, having played a key role in ending Apartheid and in the peaceful transition to constitutional democracy through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” Steenhuisen said.

Congress of the People

Cope said they were deeply saddened by the passing away of Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Their statement read: “His passing is a huge loss not only to his family and our country but a loss to the entire World. Millions in the world will miss this Peace Maker, this Hero.

“When our country was in dire need of political leadership during those dark days of Apartheid when our political leaders were imprisoned by a very vicious Government, a brave Man of God stood up, raised his hand and said, God, send me, I will go

“Archbishop Tutu was larger than life. He saved our country from a blood bath,” spokesperson Dennis Bloem said.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation

The foundation said the loss of Tutu was “immeasurable”.

“He was larger than life, and for so many in South Africa and around the world his life has been a blessing.

“He was an extraordinary human being. A thinker. A leader. A shepherd.”

Tutu and Nelson Mandela first met in the 1950s but did not see each other again for decades, on the day Mandela was released from prison in 1990. Mandela stayed at Tutu’s home that night.  

Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town

The Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, said the life of Tutu, a “deeply spiritual person”, should be celebrated. 

“He named wrong wherever he saw it and by whomever it was committed. He challenged the systems that demeaned humanity.”

UK PM Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “deeply saddened” by Tutu’s death, calling him a “critical figure” in defeating apartheid and building a new South Africa. 

“He was a critical figure in the fight against apartheid and in the struggle to create a new South Africa — and will be remembered for his spiritual leadership and irrepressible good humour,” Johnson tweeted.

The Elders

Mary Robinson, chair of The Elders, a group of global leaders working for peace and human rights, said “we are all devastated at the loss of Archbishop Desmond Tutu”.

“He inspired me to be a ‘prisoner of hope’, in his inimitable phrase,” said Robinson, who is also the former president of Ireland. 

The Elders, of which Tutu was a founding member, said in a statement they “lost a dear friend, whose infectious laugh and mischievous sense of humour delighted and charmed them all”. 

“We are all devastated at the loss,” it said in a statement Sunday.

“The world has lost an inspiration – but one whose achievements will never be forgotten, and whose commitment to peace, love and the fundamental equality of all human beings will endure to inspire future generations.”

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Tutu’s passing was “a big blow not only to the Republic of South Africa where he leaves behind huge footprints as an anti-apartheid hero but to the entire African continent where he is deeply respected and celebrated as a peacemaker”.

“Archbishop Tutu inspired a generation of African leaders who embraced his non-violent approaches in the liberation struggle,” he said. 

Additional reporting by AFP