100 World Class South Africans: Desmond Tutu

2013-05-14 12:00

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Man of God, leader of men

He may be a slightly built man but Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is a colossal figure.

A paragon of pride, patriotism and stoicism, the ‘Arch’ was – still is – the moral conscience of our nation, indeed, the world. He’s never been able to separate his spiritual life from the political – and throughout, he’s kept his sense of humour (and unmistakable laugh).

A lifelong fighter for justice, he quit teaching because he was opposed to inferior ‘Bantu education’ – instead, going into the ministry.

Three decades later (1986) he became the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and the Anglican Church, and remained a constant thorn in the side of the apartheid regime.

Tutu’s work gained international recognition when, in 1984, he was the second South African to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

This accolade seemed to spur him on further, much to the annoyance of then-president PW Botha.

In post-apartheid SA, Tutu went on to preside over perhaps his greatest accomplishment of all – the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, now an exemplary model for troubled countries around the world.

Tutu cannot be kept quiet – he remains outspoken on moral issues and, through his foundations and Peace Centre, fights injustice and continues to change lives in his desire to unite humanity.

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