Steve de Gruchy a role model and fighter for justice, says Tutu

2010-02-26 00:00

TRIBUTES poured in yesterday for the late Professor Steve de Gruchy of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, through his office in Cape Town, said his heart is with the professor’s family.

De Gruchy was a role model who was an activist in Cape Town in the 1980s, he said in a statement.

Tutu said De Gruchy was a student leader who later refused to serve in the apartheid military, working instead as a chaplain at Groote Schuur Hospital.

“He was a prolific writer, vigorous societal contributor and life-long activist for social justice who understood that apartheid was a sin. To his family we say thank you for sharing Steve with us,” said Tutu.

Archbishop Thabo Mogoba of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa said De Gruchy was a long-standing and dear friend of the Anglican Church worldwide.

“At one stage we were privileged to have him as a keynote speaker at the international Towards Effective Anglican Mission conference in 2007,” Mogoba said.

The UKZN School of Religion and Theology said that as a young man, the professor’s commitment to issues of justice and liberation were evident in his involvement in the Students’ Union for Christian Action and his refusal to serve in the South African Defence Force during the 1980s.

De Gruchy’s body was found in the Mooi River by police divers on Wednesday. He was tubing with his son on Sunday when he came off his tube as they approached rapids.

He leaves his wife Marian and their three children, Thea (18), David (15), and Kate (11). His funeral will be held at the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity in Langalibalele Street at 3 pm tomorrow.

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