By The Chicago Times Staff

December 26, 2021

JOHANNESBURG — Desmond Tutu, South Africa’s Nobel Peace Prize winner and unwavering opponent of the country’s former racist apartheid policies died on Sunday at the age of 90.

Tutu battled passionately and nonviolently to demolish apartheid, South Africa’s horrific, decades-long government of tyranny against its Black majority that ended in 1994.

When Mandela became president in 1994, he selected Tutu to lead the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated apartheid system violations.

Desmond Tutu was born on October 7, 1931, in Klerksdorp, west of Johannesburg, and worked as a teacher until enrolling at St. Peter’s Theological College in Rosetenville to train as a priest in 1958.  Tutu was ordained in 1961 and appointed chaplain at the University of Fort Hare six years later.

Tutu relocated to the tiny southern African state of Lesotho and then to the United Kingdom before coming home in 1975.  He was appointed bishop of Lesotho, chairman of the South African Council of Churches, and the first Black Anglican bishop of Johannesburg in 1985, followed by the first Black archbishop of Cape Town in 1986.

Tutu died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Center in Cape Town on Sunday, according to the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Trust.  After being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997, he had been hospitalized multiple times till 2015.

According to church authorities, a seven-day mourning phase is scheduled in Cape Town before Tutu’s burial, including a two-day laying in state, an ecumenical ceremony, and an Anglican requiem mass at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town.

The Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 recognized him as one of the world’s most successful human rights advocates, a task he took seriously for the remainder of his life.

Tutu is survived by his 66-year-old wife and their four children.