South Africa’s Moral Compass losses one of its poles

“Sometimes strident, often tender, never afraid and seldom without humour, Desmond Tutu’s voice will always be the voice of the voiceless.”

These were the words of Nelson Mandela when asked to describe Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

As the Nation and the world come to terms with the news of the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, we reflect on his life and what made him one of the most respected and revered voices for equality, justice, and morality.

Though The Arch as he was fondly known as was an Archbishop of the Anglican Church, he was loved and respected by everyone including Christians of all factions, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus. During the 1980’s, it was very common to see him holding hands with the likes of Sheikh Nazeem Mohamed of the Muslim Judicial Council, Reverend Alan Boesak and many other religious leaders at marches in protest of the Apartheid Government.

He was best known for his passionate speeches at rallies and marchers through the streets of Cape Town and Johannesburg. During the 1970’s and 80’s, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was the voice of the anti-apartheid movement, his was also the voice of the unjustly incarcerated political prisoners like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, and Ahmed Kathrada.

After the first democratic election in South Africa in 1994, Tutu was appointed as the Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) where he would listen to many voices of those who were oppressed during the Apartheid Rule. He would also listen to Apartheid Oppressors confess to the heinous crimes perpetrated against non-white South Africans.

Today we look back at Desmond Tutu’s life and very quickly realise that his voice was the only constant during Apartheid whilst many of the anti-apartheid movement leaders were in exile and imprisoned. After the fall of Apartheid, he played the vital and painful role of reconciling a broken nation.

Many know him as the moral compass of South Africa, criticising without fear even the very party and leaders he fought to free during South Africa’s darkest days.

Though The Arch was highly respected and revered by Royalty, World Leaders, and people all over the world, he held the warmest of characters. With him there were never boundaries or protocols to follow. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a friend to all who warmly offered hugs to all including royals, celebrities, world leaders and anyone who took the time to even say hello.

The Arch’s voice is no more, yet for many South Africans, his profound voice is still heard, as true leader can never be silenced.