Published: 27th December 2021
What The FAQ: Who was Archbishop Desmond Tutu and what did he stand for?
The death of the 90-year-old Archbishop was mourned by people across the world, including spiritual leaders and even extremists
Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu passed away from prostate cancer at Cape Town on December 26, 2021, a day after Christmas. The death of the 90-year-old Archbishop was mourned by people across the world, including spiritual leaders and even extremists. What is it about the spiritual leader that made him quite popular across the world?
What was Archbishop Tutu well-known for?
He was a famous anti-apartheid and human rights activist in South Africa. During that time, he stressed on non-violent protests against the ruling party and went against white majoritarianism and untouchability. He also fought to bring about universal suffrage in the country. After Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and the pair led negotiations to end apartheid and introduce multi-racial democracy, Tutu assisted as a mediator between rival black factions. He was opposed by the conservatives, who openly supported the apartheid system.
What was apartheid all about?
Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in parts of Africa. As part of this, the minority White population in the country dominated the others. It ended in 1991, which was followed by multiracial elections in 1994 in South Africa.
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Were these the only issues that Tutu stood up for?
Apart from these, during his tenure as the Archbishop of Cape Town, he campaigned for the introduction of female priests. After apartheid ended, he campaigned for gay rights and spoke out openly against the Iraq war. After he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he encouraged men to get tested for it. He has spoken out in support of assisted dying and has blessed his daughter when she married a woman in the Netherlands.
What honours has he received, apart from the Nobel?
By 2003, Tutu had approximately 100 honourary degrees. In 2003, Tutu received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement presented by Awards Council member Coretta Scott King. In 2008, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois proclaimed 13 May 'Desmond Tutu Day.