Tributes for Desmond Tutu began to flow soon after his death on Sunday morning with the Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba lauding the clergyman for his moral strength, moral courage and clarity.
Makgoba said in a statement that the church will plan Tutu’s funeral and other memorial services with the support of the government and the city of Cape Town which will be held in accordance with Covid-19 regulations.
He said prayer, the scriptures and his ministry to the people God had entrusted to his care were at the heart of Tutu’s life.
“He believed totally that each one of us is made in the image of God and ought to be treated as such by others. This belief was not reached through cerebral contemplation; it arose from his faith and was held with a deeplyfelt passion. He wanted every human being on earth to experience the freedom, the peace and the joy that all of us could enjoy if we truly respected one another as people created in the image of God.
‘Because he believed this, and because he worshipped God, he feared no-one. He named wrong wherever he saw it and by whomever it was committed. He challenged the systems that demeaned humanity. He could unleash a righteous anger on those — especially the powerful — who inflicted suffering upon those the Bible calls “the least of these, my brothers (and sisters)”. And when the perpetrators of evil experienced a true change of heart, he followed the example of his Lord and was willing to forgive.
“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,” Makgoba said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa in announcing the news described Tutu as an iconic spiritual leader, anti-apartheid activist and global human rights campaigner.