Archbishop and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu died December 26, 2021 in the Oasis Frail Care Center in Cape Town, South Africa at the age of 90.  No official cause of death was given.

Called the nation’s moral conscience, Tutu championed LGBT rights, racial justice, human rights, and was a fierce opponent of apartheid – an oppression by white minority on the Black majority.  He was the first Black bishop on Johannesburg and later became the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town.

Speaking at an LGBTQ rally in 2013 he said, “I would not worship a God who is homophobic. I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say, ‘Sorry, I would much rather go to the other place.’”  He called his native land of South Africa, “a rainbow nation”.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke on Tutu saying, “from the pavements of resistance in South Africa to the pulpits of the world’s great cathedrals and places of worship, and the prestigious setting of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the Arch distinguished himself as a non-sectarian, inclusive champion of universal human rights.”

Friend, the Dalai Lama spoke on Tutu saying he was, “entirely dedicated to serving his brothers and sisters for the greater common good. He was a true humanitarian.”

He was diagnosed with prostrate cancer in 1997 but did not hide the situation, instead spoke on the matter encouraging men to get tested early.  The Archbishop Desmond Tutu Trust said, “he turned his own misfortune into a teaching opportunity to raise awareness and reduce the suffering of others.  He wanted the world to know that he had prostate cancer, and that the sooner it is detected, the better the chance of managing it.”

He once said, “when they heard upstairs in Heaven that there was the prospect of me coming soon, they said ‘no, no, no. Keep him down there. We can’t cope with him.”

He was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

He was born Desmond Mpilo Tutu on October 7, 1931 in Klerksdorp, South Africa.  He loved to read, especially comics.  After contracting tuberculosis as a teen, he wanted to become a doctor and find a cure.

He married his wife Leah in 1955.  The couple had four children.  A teacher, he entered the seminary – St. Peter’s Theological College – in 1958 and ordained three years later.

He has written several books over the years including a children’s book and co-authored one with the Dalai Lama.

He is survived by his wife of over 65 years Leah and their children.

feature photo credit: [[File:TutuCOP17.JPG|TutuCOP17]]