This content is not available in your region

Reaction to the death of South Africa's Desmond Tutu

Access to the comments Comments
By Reuters
Factbox-Reaction to the death of South Africa's Desmond Tutu
Factbox-Reaction to the death of South Africa's Desmond Tutu   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

-South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a veteran of the struggle against white minority rule and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, died on Sunday aged 90.

Following are reactions to his death.

PRESIDENTCYRILRAMAPHOSA

“The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa.

“Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.”

U.S. PRESIDENTJOEBIDENANDFIRSTLADYJILLBIDEN

“On this morning after Christmas, we are heartbroken to learn of the passing of a true servant of God and of the people, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.”

“His courage and moral clarity helped inspire our commitment to change American policy toward the repressive Apartheid regime in South Africa.”

U.S. VICEPRESIDENTKAMALAHARRIS

“Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a fervent, vocal opponent of apartheid and committed champion of human rights. He inspired millions, not just in South Africa, but worldwide to stand with those fighting for freedom and justice.”

THABOMAKGOBA, ARCHBISHOP OF CAPETOWN

“Desmond Tutu’s legacy is moral strength, moral courage and clarity. He felt with the people. In public and alone, he cried because he felt people’s pain. And he laughed – no, not just laughed, he cackled with delight when he shared their joy.”

NELSONMANDELAFOUNDATION

“His contributions to struggles against injustice, locally and globally, are matched only by the depth of his thinking about the making of liberator futures for human societies. He was an extraordinary human being. A thinker. A leader. A shepherd.”

VATICANTELEGRAM

“His Holiness Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu… Mindful of his service to the gospel through the promotion of racial equality and reconciliation in his native South Africa, his Holiness commends his soul to the loving mercy of Almighty God.”

FORMER U.S. PRESIDENTBARACKOBAMA

“Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a mentor, a friend and a moral compass for me and so many others. A universal spirit, Archbishop Tutu was grounded in the struggle for liberation and justice in his own country, but also concerned with injustice everywhere.

“He never lost his impish sense of humour and willingness to find humanity in his adversaries, and Michelle and I will miss him dearly.”

UK’S QUEENELIZABETH

“I am joined by the whole Royal Family in being deeply saddened by the news of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a man who tirelessly championed human rights in South Africa and across the world. I remember with fondness my meetings with him and his great warmth and humour.”

UN SECRETARY-GENERALANTONIOGUTERRES

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu – a towering global figure for peace & justice, voice of the voiceless & inspiration to people everywhere.

FORMER U.S. PRESIDENTJIMMYCARTER

“No words better exemplify his ministry than the three he contributed to a work of art at The Carter Center: Love, freedom and compassion.”

JOHNSTEENHUISEN, LEADER OF SOUTHAFRICANOPPOSITIONPARTYTHEDEMOCRATICALLIANCE

“A true South African giant has left us today, but his spirit will live on … in our continued effort to build a united, successful, non-racial South Africa for all … When we lost our way, he was the moral compass that brought us back.”

EU FOREIGNPOLICYCHIEFJOSEPBORRELL

“Desmond Tutu did a lot of good for the world. His legacy of resistance to apartheid and to inequalities lives on in today’s South Africa and for all humankind.”

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURYJUSTINWELBY

“Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a prophet and priest, a man of words and action – one who embodied the hope and joy that were the foundations of his life.”

THEDALAILAMA, TIBET‘S SPIRITUALLEADER

“The friendship and the spiritual bond between us was something we cherished. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was entirely dedicated to serving his brothers and sisters for the greater common good.”

BERNICEKING, DAUGHTER OF MARTINLUTHERKING

“I’m saddened to learn of the death of global sage, human rights leader, and powerful pilgrim on earth … We are better because he was here.”

WORLDCOUNCIL OF CHURCHES

“His contagious sense of humour and laughter has helped to resolve many critical situations in South Africa’s political and church life. He was able to break almost any deadlock. He shared with us the laughter and grace of God many a time.”

UK PRIMEMINISTERBORISJOHNSON

“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.”

BRITAIN‘S PRINCECHARLESANDDUCHESS OF CORNWALL

“My wife and I are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu whose bravery in speaking out against the evil of apartheid and highlighting the threat of climate change was an inspiration to us all.”

MEXICANPRESIDENTANDRESMANUELLOPEZOBRADOR

“One of his sayings is terse, but forceful and true: ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.’”

WASELABUYOUSSEF, MEMBER OF THEEXECUTIVECOMMITTEE OF THEPALESTINELIBERATIONORGANISATION

“Father Desmond Tutu was one of the biggest supporters of the Palestinian cause. He had always advocated the rights of the Palestinians to gain their freedom and rejected Israeli occupation and apartheid.”

UNAIDS, THEJOINTUNITEDNATIONSPROGRAMME ON HIV/AIDS

“He was a powerful voice in the fight against AIDS, combating denial, demanding access to treatment for all, calling out against discrimination of people living with HIV, and championing the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, women, and children. His work on HIV and tuberculosis prevention and treatment changed global paradigms and saved many lives.”

GRACAMACHEL, WIDOW OF NELSONMANDELAANDFORMERMOZAMBIQUEPRESIDENTSAMORAMACHEL

“Fighting for freedom from the trenches of South Africa required a courage that cannot be described… And yet he stood resolute and fearless, leading demonstrations cloaked in his flowing clerical robe with his cross as his shield – the embodiment of humankind’s moral conscience.”

SOUTHAFRICANCHAMBER OF COMMERCEANDINDUSTRY

“A big tree has indeed fallen, and South Africa owes the Tutu family a debt of gratitude for this giant.”

MPHOTUTUVANFURTH, DAUGHTER OF DESMONDTUTU

“My father was a man of prayer and a man of peace. His heart was big enough to hold the whole world in love”

“He was in the company of the most powerful people on earth and he sat with the smallest, the weakest, the poorest and the neediest. He did it with the same love and laugh.”