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Veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Tutu dies aged 90

Members of the media attend a press bfriefing at the Cape Town Civic Centre in Cape Town on 26 December 2021 after the news of the passing of South African anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu. [GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP via Getty Images]
Members of the media attend a press briefing at the Cape Town Civic Centre in Cape Town on 26 December 2021 after the news of the passing of South African anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu. [GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP via Getty Images]

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and veteran of South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle died on Sunday at the age of 90, the presidency 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," President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

"Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal."

Rest in Peace, Desmond Tutu [Mohammad Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Rest in Peace, Desmond Tutu [Mohammad Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

In 1984 won the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent opposition to apartheid. A decade later, he witnessed the ends of that regime and he chaired a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to unearth atrocities committed during those dark days.

The outspoken Tutu was considered the nation's conscience, an enduring testament to his faith and spirit of reconciliation in a divided nation.

Tutu was a staunch supporter of the Palestinian people's struggle against Israeli apartheid. After one of his visits to Palestine he famously wrote an article in the Guardian under the title Apartheid in the Holy Land. In it he said:

I've been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy land: it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa.

Desmond Tutu: Apartheid in the Holy Land

Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu (C) visits a house in the town of Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip on May 28, 2008. [MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images]

Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu (C) visits a house in the town of Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip on May 28, 2008. [MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images]

Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late 1990s and in recent years he was hospitalised on several occasions to treat infections associated with his cancer treatment.

Tutu preached against the tyranny of the white minority and even after its end, he never wavered in his fight for a fairer South Africa, calling the Black political elite to account with as much feistiness as he had the white Afrikaners.

He was without doubt a true revolutionary and internationalist who stood up for the oppressed. As a tribute to his memory MEMO is pleased to republish in full his enduring testimony against Israeli apartheid.

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