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MediaStatement:FoundationSaddenedbypassingof ArchbishopDesmondTutu
From: NelsonMandelaFoundation
Date of publication:26December2021
The lossof ArchbishopEmeritusDesmondMpilo Tutuisimmeasurable.He waslargerthanlife,and
for somany inSouthAfricaand aroundthe worldhislife hasbeenablessing.Hiscontributionsto
strugglesagainstinjustice,locallyandglobally,are matchedonlybythe depthof histhinkingabout
the makingof liberatoryfuturesforhumansocieties.He wasanextraordinaryhumanbeing.A
thinker.A leader.A shepherd.Ourthoughtsare withhisfamilyandfriendsatthismostdifficulttime.
“The Archmeanteverythingtome,”saidFoundationChief Executive SelloHatang.“Ifirstmet him
duringthe workof the Truth and ReconciliationCommission,andwasprivilegedtoworkwithhimon
a numberof projectsoverthe years.He was a friendtoMadiba andto the Foundation.”
NelsonMandelaandthe ArchbishopEmeritusfirstmetata debatingcompetitioninthe early1950s.
It wouldbe fourdecadeslaterbefore theymetagain,onthe daythat Mandelawas releasedfrom
prison.Hisfirstnightas a free man wasspentat the home of the Tutusin Bishopscourt,Cape Town.
On that occasionbefore everyone retiredforthe night,Tutuofferedaprayerof thanksgivingandled
a singingof ReverendTiyoSoga’sfamoushymninisiXhosa,‘Lizalis’idingalakho’ –‘Letyour will be
done’.
The apartheidstate had frustratedattemptsbybothMandelaandTutu for the two of themto meet
before the prisonreleaseon11 February1990. Fromthenuntil Mandelapassedawayin2013 they
were inregularcontact and theirfriendshipdeepenedovertime.There wasalight,almost teasing
quality,totheirrelationship.Theyrelentlesslypokedfunateachother’spreferredattire,for
instance – MandelawearinghisMadibashirtsand the Arch hisrobes.Buttheyalso collaboratedona
numberof importantinitiatives.
It was Tutu whoheldaloftMadiba’shandonthe balconyof Cape Town’sCityHall on 9 May 1994
and presentedhimtothe assembledthrongsasthe country’snew “outof the box”President.In
1995 Mandelaappointedhimtochairthe country’sTruthand ReconciliationCommission,aposition
Tutu usedto drive endeavourtoreckonwithoppressive pastsbutalsotoholdthe new democratic
governmentaccountable.AsMandelareflectedinthatperiod:“Hismostcharacteristicqualityishis
readinesstotake unpopularpositions withoutfear…He speakshismindonmattersof public
morality.Asa result,he annoyedmanyof the leadersof the apartheidsystem.Norhashe spared
those that followedthem - he hasfromtime to time annoyedmanyof uswho belongtothe new
order.But such independence of mind - howeverwrongandunstrategicitmayat timesbe - isvital
to a thrivingdemocracy.”Mostrecently,of course,Tutuspoke outrobustlyandinsistentlyagainst
state capture.
In 2004 he deliveredthe NelsonMandelaAnnualLecture,andusedthe platformtodeliverastinging
critique of the governingparty.The thrustof hisargumentwas the extenttowhichleadershiphad
failedsociety’smostvulnerable.“We were involvedinthe struggle becausewe believedwe would
evolve anewkindof society.A caring,a compassionate society.Atthe momentmany,toomany,of
our people liveingruelling,demeaning,dehumanisingpoverty.”
Madiba andthe Arch were bothfoundingmembersof The Elders,aninternational groupingof
inspirationalleaderswhichhasdone humanrightsworkincountriesaroundthe world.
“We owe itboth to Madibaand to the Arch to continue workingforthe countryandthe worldof
theirdreams,”saidHatang.“Theirintersectinglegaciesare powerful resourcesforsocial justice
work.”
WhenNelsonMandelapassedawayin2013, ArchbishopEmeritusTutusaid:“Thisisa man who
cared.” Asthe Foundationmournstodaythe passingof our belovedArch,we inturncan say
preciselythe same of him.Mayhe restin peace

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Media Statement: Foundation Saddened by passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu

  • 1. MediaStatement:FoundationSaddenedbypassingof ArchbishopDesmondTutu From: NelsonMandelaFoundation Date of publication:26December2021 The lossof ArchbishopEmeritusDesmondMpilo Tutuisimmeasurable.He waslargerthanlife,and for somany inSouthAfricaand aroundthe worldhislife hasbeenablessing.Hiscontributionsto strugglesagainstinjustice,locallyandglobally,are matchedonlybythe depthof histhinkingabout the makingof liberatoryfuturesforhumansocieties.He wasanextraordinaryhumanbeing.A thinker.A leader.A shepherd.Ourthoughtsare withhisfamilyandfriendsatthismostdifficulttime. “The Archmeanteverythingtome,”saidFoundationChief Executive SelloHatang.“Ifirstmet him duringthe workof the Truth and ReconciliationCommission,andwasprivilegedtoworkwithhimon a numberof projectsoverthe years.He was a friendtoMadiba andto the Foundation.” NelsonMandelaandthe ArchbishopEmeritusfirstmetata debatingcompetitioninthe early1950s. It wouldbe fourdecadeslaterbefore theymetagain,onthe daythat Mandelawas releasedfrom prison.Hisfirstnightas a free man wasspentat the home of the Tutusin Bishopscourt,Cape Town. On that occasionbefore everyone retiredforthe night,Tutuofferedaprayerof thanksgivingandled a singingof ReverendTiyoSoga’sfamoushymninisiXhosa,‘Lizalis’idingalakho’ –‘Letyour will be done’. The apartheidstate had frustratedattemptsbybothMandelaandTutu for the two of themto meet before the prisonreleaseon11 February1990. Fromthenuntil Mandelapassedawayin2013 they were inregularcontact and theirfriendshipdeepenedovertime.There wasalight,almost teasing quality,totheirrelationship.Theyrelentlesslypokedfunateachother’spreferredattire,for instance – MandelawearinghisMadibashirtsand the Arch hisrobes.Buttheyalso collaboratedona numberof importantinitiatives. It was Tutu whoheldaloftMadiba’shandonthe balconyof Cape Town’sCityHall on 9 May 1994 and presentedhimtothe assembledthrongsasthe country’snew “outof the box”President.In 1995 Mandelaappointedhimtochairthe country’sTruthand ReconciliationCommission,aposition Tutu usedto drive endeavourtoreckonwithoppressive pastsbutalsotoholdthe new democratic governmentaccountable.AsMandelareflectedinthatperiod:“Hismostcharacteristicqualityishis readinesstotake unpopularpositions withoutfear…He speakshismindonmattersof public morality.Asa result,he annoyedmanyof the leadersof the apartheidsystem.Norhashe spared those that followedthem - he hasfromtime to time annoyedmanyof uswho belongtothe new order.But such independence of mind - howeverwrongandunstrategicitmayat timesbe - isvital to a thrivingdemocracy.”Mostrecently,of course,Tutuspoke outrobustlyandinsistentlyagainst state capture.
  • 2. In 2004 he deliveredthe NelsonMandelaAnnualLecture,andusedthe platformtodeliverastinging critique of the governingparty.The thrustof hisargumentwas the extenttowhichleadershiphad failedsociety’smostvulnerable.“We were involvedinthe struggle becausewe believedwe would evolve anewkindof society.A caring,a compassionate society.Atthe momentmany,toomany,of our people liveingruelling,demeaning,dehumanisingpoverty.” Madiba andthe Arch were bothfoundingmembersof The Elders,aninternational groupingof inspirationalleaderswhichhasdone humanrightsworkincountriesaroundthe world. “We owe itboth to Madibaand to the Arch to continue workingforthe countryandthe worldof theirdreams,”saidHatang.“Theirintersectinglegaciesare powerful resourcesforsocial justice work.” WhenNelsonMandelapassedawayin2013, ArchbishopEmeritusTutusaid:“Thisisa man who cared.” Asthe Foundationmournstodaythe passingof our belovedArch,we inturncan say preciselythe same of him.Mayhe restin peace