Desmond Tutu was dedicated, a defender of liberties and rights of Africans – Akufo-Addo

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed his deepest condolences to President Matemela Cyril Ramaphosa, the people and Government of the Republic of South Africa following the death of Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu.

Mr Akufo-Addo described him as a defender of the liberties and rights of Africans and oppressed peoples of the world.

“On behalf of the people and Government of the Republic of Ghana, I extend our deepest condolences to President Matemela Cyril Ramaphosa, the people and Government of the Republic of South Africa and his family on the death of one of Africa’s most noble, patriotic sons, Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu.

“Redoubtable priest, arguably the greatest religious leader of his generation, renowned freedom fighter, fearless anti-apartheid activist, committed human rights leader, iconic Nobel Peace Prize winner, he fulfilled his life’s purpose on earth, and receives the plaudits of a grateful posterity.

“The history of Africa’s struggle for freedom from colonialism, imperialism and the racist ideology of apartheid has been immeasurably enriched by the contribution of this jovial, dedicated and principled defender of the liberties and rights of Africans and oppressed peoples of the world.

“His work as chairperson of the historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, established by his outstanding compatriot, contemporary and friend, Madiba, President Nelson Mandela, the 1st President of democratic South Africa, was instrumental in promoting reconciliation amongst the peoples of South Africa in the post – apartheid era, which enabled a united South Africa to emerge from the debris of apartheid, much to the astonishment of many in South Africa and around the world.

“The Commission provided an example which was followed elsewhere in several countries in Africa, where systematic violations of human rights had at a given moment become part of their political culture, including in our own Ghana.

“He run his race set before him, and leaves behind indelible footprints in the sands of time. May his soul rest in perfect peace in the bosom of the Almighty, until the Last Day of the Resurrection when we shall all meet again. Amen!” he said in a statement.

The Nobel Peace prize laureate who helped end apartheid in South Africa, has died aged 90.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the churchman’s death marked “another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans”.

Archbishop Tutu had helped bequeath “a liberated South Africa,” he added.Tutu was one of the country’s best known figures at home and abroad.

A contemporary of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, he was was one of the driving forces behind the movement to end the policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the black majority in South Africa from 1948 until 1991.

He was awarded the Nobel prize in 1984 for his role in the struggle to abolish the apartheid system.

Tutu’s death comes just weeks after that of South Africa’s last apartheid-era president, FW de Clerk, who died at the age of 85.

President Ramaphosa said Tutu was “an iconic spiritual leader, anti-apartheid activist and global human rights campaigner”.

He described him as “a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.”

“A man of extraordinary intellect, integrity and invincibility against the forces of apartheid, he was also tender and vulnerable in his compassion for those who had suffered oppression, injustice and violence under apartheid, and oppressed and downtrodden people around the world.”

The Nelson Mandela Foundation was among those paying tributes, saying Tutu’s “contributions to struggles against injustice, locally and globally, are matched only by the depth of his thinking about the making of liberatory futures for human societies.”

He was an extraordinary human being. A thinker. A leader. A shepherd.”

Known affectionately as The Arch, Tutu was instantly recognisable, with his purple clerical robes, cheery demeanour and almost constant smile.

He was not afraid to show his emotions in public, including memorably laughing and dancing at the opening ceremony of the football World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

Despite his popularity though he was not a man who was loved by all. He was very critical of the government in the post-apartheid era, when, at times, he felt it was misrepresenting South Africa.

Ordained as a priest in 1960, he went on to serve as bishop of Lesotho from 1976-78, assistant bishop of Johannesburg and rector of a parish in Soweto. He became Bishop of Johannesburg in 1985, and was appointed the first black Archbishop of Cape Town the following year. He used his high-profile role to speak out against oppression of black people in his home country, always saying his motives were religious and not political.

After Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994, Tutu was appointed by him to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up to investigate crimes committed by both whites and blacks during the apartheid era.

He was also credited with coining the term Rainbow Nation to describe the ethnic mix of post-apartheid South Africa, but in his latter years he expressed regret that the nation had not coalesced in the way in which he had dreamt.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana with additional files from the BBC