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Tributes Pour in for Anti-apartheid Icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu

South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu died Sunday aged 90, sparking tributes from around the world.

Here are some of those tributes:

UK PM Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “deeply saddened” by Tutu’s death, calling him a “critical figure” in defeating apartheid and building a new South Africa. “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,” Johnson tweeted.

The Elders

Mary Robinson, chair of The Elders, a group of global leaders working for peace and human rights, said “we are all devastated at the loss of Archbishop Desmond Tutu”. “He inspired me to be a ‘prisoner of hope’, in his inimitable phrase,” said Robinson, who is also the former president of Ireland.

The Elders, of which Tutu was a founding member, said in a statement they “lost a dear friend, whose infectious laugh and mischievous sense of humour delighted and charmed them all”. “We are all devastated at the loss,” it said in a statement Sunday.

“The world has lost an inspiration — but one whose achievements will never be forgotten, and whose commitment to peace, love and the fundamental equality of all human beings will endure to inspire future generations.”

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Tutu’s passing was “a big blow not only to the Republic of South Africa where he leaves behind huge footprints as an anti-apartheid hero but to the entire African continent where he is deeply respected and celebrated as a peacemaker”. “Archbishop Tutu inspired a generation of African leaders who embraced his non-violent approaches in the liberation struggle,” he said.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation

The foundation said the loss of Tutu was “immeasurable”. “He was larger than life, and for so many in South Africa and around the world his life has been a blessing.

“He was an extraordinary human being. A thinker. A leader. A shepherd.” Tutu and Nelson Mandela first met in the 1950s but did not see each other again for decades, on the day Mandela was released from prison in 1990. Mandela stayed at Tutu’s home that night.

Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town

The Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, said the life of Tutu, a “deeply spiritual person”, should be celebrated. “He named wrong wherever he saw it and by whomever it was committed. He challenged the systems that demeaned humanity.”

Dalai Lama

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama condoled the death and called Tutu a true humanitarian. In a letter to Tutu’s daughter Mpho Tutu, the Dalai Lama called the Nobel Peace Prize awardee his respected elder spiritual brother and good friend. “Please accept my heartfelt condolences… and convey the same to your mother and other members of your family. I pray for him,” the letter to Mpho read.

Indian Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu

Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu expressed anguish at the demise of Tutu. “Anguished by the demise of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. An apostle of peace and a champion of human rights, Archbishop Tutu will always be remembered for his non-violent struggle against apartheid in South Africa,” the Vice-President Secretariat tweeted quoting Naidu.

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Written by Anupam Singh

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