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Desmond Tutu, whose voice helped end apartheid, dies at 90

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Desmond Tutu, whose voice helped end apartheid, dies at 90

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Desmond M. Tutu, the cleric who used his pulpit and fiery oratory to help bring down apartheid in South Africa and then became the main advocate for peaceful reconciliation under the black majority regime, died on Sunday in Cape Town. He was 90 years old.

His death was confirmed by the office of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who called the Archbishop “a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical idea that faith without works is dead. “.

As head of the South African Council of Churches and later as Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Archbishop Tutu led the church to the forefront of the decades-long struggle of black South Africans for freedom. . His voice was a powerful force for non-violence in the anti-apartheid movement, which won him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

When this movement triumphed in the early 1990s, it pushed the country towards a new relationship between its white and black citizens, and, as chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he gathered testimonies documenting the wickedness of the ‘apartheid.

“You are overwhelmed by the extent of the evil,” he said. But, he added, the wound had to be opened to clean it. In return for an honest account of past crimes, the committee offered amnesty, establishing what Archbishop Tutu called the principle of restorative rather than punitive justice.

His credibility was crucial to the commission’s efforts to get former members of the South African security forces and former guerrilla fighters to cooperate with the investigation.

This obituary will be updated.

Alan Cowell and Lynsey Chutel contributed reporting.

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