South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has passed away at the age of 90.
Archbishop Tutu was born October 7th, 1931in Klerksdorp, South Africa to Zachariah Zelilo Tutu and his wife, Allen Dorothea Mavoertsek Mathlare.
He would become a teacher in 1951, prior to becoming an Anglican priest. He would be ordained in December 1960.
Archbishop Tutu would attend King’s College London, while continuing his preaching, and would receive a degree from the College in 1963.
Archbishop Tutu would become dean of St. Mary’s Cathedral in South Africa in 1975, one of the most important Church positions in South Africa. He would become Bishop of Lesotho in 1976, and became general secretary of the South African Council of Churches in 1978. IN 1985 he would become the first black Bishop of Johannesburg. A year later he become the most senior clergy in South Africa when he was elected Archbishop of Cape Town, again the first black man to hold the position.
The Archbishop was vocal in his criticism of apartheid in South Africa throughout his life, and would win a Nobel Prize for Peace for his work. During the last years of apartheid, the Archbishop helped negotiate the transition which led to a peaceful transition. In 1994, after Nelson Mandela‘s victory in the general election, he would organize the religious component of the inauguration, and made sure that multiple religious groups would be included. When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission started in 1995, the Archbishop would serve as its’ first Chairman. However, he would make it clear that it was apartheid that he was against, and that he was not ‘anti-white’, and wanted equality for all.
He would retire as Archbishop of Cape Town in 1996 and would be created ‘Archbishop Emeritus.’ At his farewell service, he would receive South Africa’s highest honour, the Order for Meritorious Service.
Queen Elizabeth II would make him an honorary member of The Order of the Companions of Honour and Bailiff Grand Cross of the Venerable Order of St. John. He would receive multiple honorary Doctorates during his life, as well as being a recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award and many other honors and awards during his career.
In 1955, he married Nomalizo Leah Shenxane and together they had four children. He died December 26th, 2021 from prostate cancer, a disease that he had battled more than once in his life.
BBC: Desmond Tutu: Obama joins tributes to South Africa anti-apartheid hero
CTV: Desmond Tutu, anti-apartheid leader and voice of justice, dead at 90
The Globe and Mail: Desmond Tutu, anti-apartheid leader and fighter for moral justice, dies at 90
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