President Cyril Ramaphosa said the passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is one of the saddest days in South Africa’s history.
Ramaphosa was addressing the nation following the passing of Tutu on Sunday in Cape Town at the age of 90.
Described as a lifelong human rights and social justice champion, the arch lived and preached the values of justice, forgiveness, and equality.
Ramaphosa said Tutu was a man of unwavering courage, of principled conviction, whose life was spent in the service of others.
“We have lost a person who carried the burden of leadership with compassion, dignity, humility and with such good humour. We are comforted in the knowledge that he has left an indelible mark in the lives of the millions of people who had the privilege and honour of knowing him.”
Ramaphosa said in Tutu’s struggle against apartheid and as Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he saw the depths to which human beings could descend in the subjugation of others.
“He knew in his soul that good would triumph over evil, that justice would prevail over iniquity, and that reconciliation would prevail over revenge and recrimination. He knew that apartheid would end, that democracy would come. He knew that our people would be free.”
The president said there would be period of mourning and flags would be flown at half mast across the country.
Ramaphosa said details of Tutu’s memorial and funeral service will be announced in the coming days.