Desmond Tutu: ‘A man of unwavering courage,’ says Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, describing him as one of South Africa’s finest patriots. Ramaphosa, whose office broke the news of Tutu’s death, delivered his official message on Sunday, 26 December 2021.

Tutu passed away in Cape Town at the age of 90. There has since been a flood of reaction from the international community, with many hailing him for his tireless activism during the struggle.

“He was a man of unwavering courage, of principled conviction, and whose life was spent in the service of others. He embodied the essence of our humanity. Knowing he had been ill for some time has done little to lessen the blow dealt to South Africa this sad day,” Ramaphosa said.

The president said despite what he saw during the fight against apartheid, Tutu never lost faith in humanity and in God. Ramaphosa said instead, Tutu knew that good would triumph over evil.

“He knew that apartheid would end, that democracy would come. He knew that our people would be free. By the same measure, he was convinced, even to the end of his life, that poverty, hunger and misery can be defeated; that all people can live together in peace, security and comfort,” Ramaphosa said.


President Cyril Ramaphosa says funeral arrangements for Desmond Tutu are still being finalised and dates for memorial services will be announced soon. Ramaphosa says the funeral will be led by the Anglican Church. In addition, South Africa will observe a mourning period and flags will be flown at half mast as soon as his funeral is declared.

“There will be a period of mourning during which the national flag shall fly at half-mast at all flag stations countrywide and at South African diplomatic missions abroad. This will be observed from the time of the formal declaration of the funeral until the night before the funeral service”

President Cyril Ramaphosa

“It cannot escape our notice that Archbishop Tutu departed this world at the time of year when much of humanity celebrates the birth of Christ. We cannot mourn his passing without recognising the joy, the hope and the light that this birth signified to him and continues to signify to people across the world. It was this joy, this hope and this light that he preached and he celebrated throughout his life”

President Cyril Ramaphosa

The South African

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