WATCH | Remembering Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

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Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. (Gallo Images/Getty Images.)
Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. (Gallo Images/Getty Images.)

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu died peacefully at the Oasis Care Centre in Cape Town on Sunday, 26 December. He was 90 years old.

Reacting to the news, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: "The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation's farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa."

The Nobel Peace laureate dedicated most of his life to public service and the fight for equality. He was known as the conscience of the country.

We look back on his life through a collection of videos.


The Archbishop celebrated his 90th birthday on 7 October by spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The SABC paid tribute to Tutu  and honoured "the small David, who brought down many Goliaths".

Tutu, who was born in Klerksdorp in 1931, coined the famous phrase "Rainbow Nation" to describe post-apartheid South Africa.

Here are five things you might not have known about the archbishop:

 News24 looks back on his remarkable life in this video obituary.

Tutu's finest hour came when he chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was set up to bear witness to, record and, in some cases, grant amnesty to the perpetrators of apartheid human rights violations, as well as rule on reparation and the rehabilitation.

In this clip he discusses how he found strength to sit and listen to the horrors.

Tutu was among the first of the over-60 cohort to get his Covid-19 jab in 2021. 

He retired from public life in 2010, but remained vocal, highlighting several causes he believed in.

In 2014, Tutu called for an end to the fossil fuel era.

"The destruction of the earth's environment is the human rights challenge of our time," he said.

"Time is running out."

Archbishop Tutu overcame polio in his childhood, and nearly succumbed to TB in his youth. On World Tuberculosis Day on 24 March 2017, he recorded a message and shared his own experience with the disease.

"We all need to unite to end TB," he said.  

The Arch shared a special friendship with the Dalai Lama, as this video shows. He said they were "kindred spirits". 

 Tutu was known for his wonderful sense of humour. In 2014 he participated in the ice bucket challenge and nominated Sir Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel to do the same.


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