The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and South Africa’s veteran against white majority rule has passed away at 90.   

Black and white considered Tutu to be the nation’s conscience, a testament to his faith as well as spirit of reconciliation within a divided country.

He spoke out against the oppression of the white minority, and even after it was over, he didn’t give up on his quest for a fairer South Africa. With as much enthusiasm as the white Afrikaners, the black political class were called to account by him.

He regretted in his last years that his dreams of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ had never come to fruition.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and veteran of South Africa 's struggle against white minority rule, has died aged 90 (Pictured in 2015)

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been killed at the age of 90. He was also a veteran of South Africa’s resistance to white minority rule. (Pictured 2015).

Tutu was a prominent human rights advocate on the international stage. He spoke about a wide range of subjects, from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory to gay rights and climate change.

“The death of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu marks another moment of loss in the nation’s final farewells to an outstanding generation of South Africans, who left us a liberated South Africa,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Tutu stood at just 5’5″ (1.68m) and had an infectious laugh. In 1984, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

To highlight the suffering of black South Africans, he used his prominent role as Anglican Priest.

When asked if there were any regrets about his 1996 retirement as Archbishop in Cape Town, Tutu replied that he felt abrasive. He also admitted to feeling self-righteous. I pray that the people forgive me for any pains I have caused.

During the 1980s Tutu traveled extensively and talked tirelessly, becoming the international face of anti-apartheid movements. While Nelson Mandela was behind bars, many leaders of rebel African National Congress, (ANC), like Nelson Mandela, were still in jail.

In 1986, he stated: “Our country is burning and bloody and I appeal to the international community for punitive sanctions against that government.”

He helped to mobilize worldwide grassroots campaigns that supported the end of apartheid by economic and cultural boycotts, even though governments refused his call.

P.W. was a hardline former president. In a March 1988 letter, Botha asked Tutu if he wanted the kingdom of God or the promised kingdom by the now-outlawed and ruling ANC.

Tutu, pictured in 2001, used his high-profile role in the Anglican Church to highlight the plight of black South Africans

Tutu, pictured in 2001, used his high-profile role in the Anglican Church to highlight the plight of black South Africans

His most difficult task was to offer graveside prayers for Black men who were killed in the war against white supremacy.

We are sick of attending funerals every week and making speeches. He once stated that it was time to end the human suffering.

Tutu claimed that apartheid’s stance was not political but moral.

“It is easier to be a Christian here than in any other country because the moral issues in South Africa are so obvious,” he said once to Reuters.

Tutu led Nelson Mandela, after 27 years imprisonment to on a balcony in Cape Town’s City Hall. It overlooked a square that was the scene of his first public address.

Four years later, he was there to support Mandela when he was elected the first African president of the United States.

Mandela described Desmond Tutu as a friend who was sometimes strident but often tender and never afraid to laugh.

Mandela was instrumental in introducing South Africa into democracy. Tutu, however, headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This commission exposed the horrendous truths of white rule.

Some of the most heartbreaking stories moved him publically to tears. 

Tutu, however, was just as hard on South Africa’s apartheid rulers as he was about the new democracy.

He criticized the ruling elite for boarding the gravy train’ of privilege, and chastised Mandela for having a long-running affair with Graca Machel. Mandela eventually got married to her.

Tutu in his Truth Commission Report refused to give the ANC’s excesses in fighting white rule more respect than the apartheid government.

In his later years, he continued to speak his mind and condemned President Jacob Zuma for corruption in relation to a $23million security upgrade of his house.

He admitted that he didn’t vote for the ANC in 2014, citing moral reasons.

Tutu said that he is sad for being an elderly man. He had hoped that his final days would include days of rejoicing as well as days of praising younger people and congratulating them on doing the same things we hoped.

In December 2003, he criticised his government’s support of Robert Mugabe the Zimbabwean President, in spite growing condemnation for his record on human rights.

Tutu created a parallel between Zimbabwe’s isolation and South Africa’s struggle against apartheid.

“We appealed to the international community for help in South Africa’s internal affairs. Tutu stated that apartheid could not be defeated on its own. “What’s sauce for the goose must also be sauce for gander,’ Tutu stated.

He also criticized South African President Thabo Mbeki, for questioning the connection between HIV/AIDS. Mbeki claimed that Mbeki’s international reputation had been tarnished. 

Tutu, the son of a schoolteacher, was born on October 7, 1931 in Klerksdorp (a conservative, west-of-Johannesburg town)

After moving to Sophiatown, Johannesburg (one of Johannesburg’s most mixed-race areas), the family built a new home. Triomf, a white suburb in Triomf – ‘Triumph’ in Afrikaans, was constructed.

Tutu was a passionate student and his first job as a teacher. Tutu said that he was fed up with the education system for Blacks. It had been described once by South African Prime Minister as being geared towards preparing Blacks to be servants.

In 1957, Tutu decided to quit teaching and join the Church. He studied first at St. Peter’s Theological College. After being ordained as a priest, Tutu continued his education at King’s College London.

He returned from four years in Europe to return to South Africa where his charismatic preaching and sharp intellect saw him ascend through the ranks to be Anglican Dean at Johannesburg in 1975. This was also when his activism began to take shape.

“I realized that I was given a platform not available to many Blacks. Most of our leaders are either in chains or exile. Then I told him: “Well, this is how I am going to try to communicate our aspirations to our people’,” he said to a reporter back in 2004.

Tutu was now far too famous and well-respected to be ignored in the apartheid regime’s hands. In 1978, he used his position as Secretary-General of South African Council of Churches. This enabled him to request sanctions against South Africa.

His title as the first Black archbishop of Cape Town was in 1986. In that year, he became head of South Africa’s fourth-largest Anglican Church. This position he would keep until 1996.

After a long battle against prostate cancer, he retired and withdrew from the public eye. He hosted Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, along with their 4-month-old boy Archie, at his Cape Town charitable foundation in September 2019. This was his final public appearance.

Tutu was married to Leah in 1956. Four children were born to them, as well many grandchildren. Their homes were in Cape Town and Soweto.