Desmond Tutu worked alongside Nelson Mandela to end apartheid in South Africa, ending up as long-time friends. Archbishop Tutu was the first black bishop of Johannesburg and later Archbishop of Cape Town.
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MPs across the political spectrum have paid tribute to the “truly great figure”, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
The Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist who worked tirelessly and peacefully for the downfall of apartheid died aged 90.
Archbishop Tutu had been treated in hospital several times since 2015, after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997.
As South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his death, he said it 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”.
Mr Ramaphosa added: “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.”
Boris Johnson said the Archbishop will be remembered for his leadership and “irrepressible good humour”.
Paying tribute on Twitter, the Prime Minister said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
“He was a critical figure in the fight against apartheid and in the struggle to create a new South Africa – and will be remembered for his spiritual leadership and irrepressible good humour.”
Sir Keir Starmer described the Archbishop as a “tower of a man”.
The Labour leader said on Twitter: “He dedicated his life to tackling injustice and standing up for the oppressed.
“His impact on the world crosses borders and echoes through generations. May he rest in peace.”
Nicknamed “the Arch”, Tutu was and will remain a huge figure in South Africa’s history, alongside the nation’s first black president Nelson Mandela.
After 27 years in prison, Mandela spent his first night of freedom at Tutu’s residence in Cape Town.
Later, Mandela called Tutu “the people’s archbishop”.
The Deputy Prime Minister, and Justice Secretary said“Sad to hear of the passing of Desmond Tutu.
“A truly great figure, who I had the privilege to meet in The Hague when he was working for the victims of war crimes.
“His adage, ‘Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument’, has never felt more apt.”
In a rather limiting remark, the Foreign Secretary said her thoughts are with “the people of South Africa”.
“Saddened to hear of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s death,” Liz Truss tweeted.
“He was a driving force behind ending apartheid in South Africa and a worthy winter of the Nobel Peace Prize. My thoughts are with the people of South Africa.”
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Labour’s Jess Phillips described Desmond Tutu as a lovely man.
“What a man he was,” she said on Twitter.
“A steely activist who wore it so lightly that it made others feel included, this is so skilful. A lovely lovely man.”
The Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding shared one of his quotes: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world – Desmond Tutu.”
Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central said: “We have lost someone very special in Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
“May he rest in eternal peace.”