At the age of 90, Nobel Prize-winner and anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu has passed away. And if you don’t know him for his incredible work as a humanitarian you may know him as the archbishop who Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and Archie Harrison met during their trip to South Africa.
You may remember these images and videos of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Sussex’ from their trip:
“This morning The Duke and Duchess were honoured to introduce their son Archie, to Archbishop, Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Thandeka,” the Duke and Duchess wrote at the time. “The Archbishop, a globally respected figure in anti-apartheid movement, is one of the world’s great champions of equality, and has spent his life tirelessly battling injustice.”
The archbishop’s passing was first made public with a statement made by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. “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,” Ramaphosa said in a statement, according to Rolling Stone.
Tutu dedicated his life to calling out racial inequality and ending the apartheid. His poignant work led him to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 while he was the first Black Archbishop of Cape Town and after he was the first Black bishop of Johannesburg.
According to Rolling Stone, in 1994, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and others, like Nelson Mandela, who worked tirelessly to end South Africa’s system of Black oppression got to see the fall of the apartheid and partake in the country’s first democratic election. But Tutu’s work as a humanitarian did not end there.
“The archbishop also fought for the rights of those in the LGBTQ+ community. “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this,” he said in 2013. “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say, ‘Sorry, I would much rather go to the other place.’”
Since the reveal of his passing, former presidents and more game-changing world leaders have offered their condolences. As former President Barack Obama wrote, “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.”
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. 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,” England’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote.
In celebration of his life, activist and actress Ava DuVernay shared a poignant quote the Archbishop made regarding God and his ability to love all people. “God is not a Christian. God accepts as pleasing those who live by the best lights available to them that they can discern. All truth, all sense of beauty, all awareness of goodness has one source, God, who is not confined to one place, time or people.”
Journalist Jim Acosta also shared a memory he will never forget after interviewing Tutu in 2003. “As a young reporter, I interviewed Archbishop Desmond Tutu at a demonstration in NYC just before the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003. Asked him what his message was. His response was simple: ‘Give peace a chance.’ Will never forget that. RIP.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a man who will Iive on in history through his actions and words. Rest In Peace.
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