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Our take: Thank you, Tutu

South Africa’s beloved Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu passed away on 26 December at the age of 90. His environmentally-friendly ashes – water was used instead of fire to process the remains – were interred in Cape Town’s St George’s Cathedral on 1 January 2022. 🌱

Tutu was one of South Africa’s most fervent anti-apartheid icons and freedom fighters and a global icon. He became the first black African Bishop in the 1980s. In 1984, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to the apartheid regime. ✊🏽

He is remembered for his humility and efforts to restore South Africa after the dark days of apartheid. In 1995, South Africa’s first democratic leader, President Nelson Mandela, appointed Tutu as the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC); it aimed to heal the nation and bring about racial reconciliation while uncovering the atrocities inflicted during apartheid. The TRC invited victims and their families to testify, but it was criticised for failing to ensure that those who upheld and drove the regime were held properly accountable for their actions.

Tutu also popularised the term “rainbow nation”. He was a proud advocate for gay rights. 🏳️‍🌈Though he was not without error – who is, after all? – he remains one of South Africa’s most revered and respectable icons. If we were to take one lesson from him, it’s this: 

“Do your little bit of good wherever you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

Rest well, Arch, and thank you for your remarkable contributions to our country. 🙇🏽‍♀️ 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 13 January 2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.