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South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu turns 90 amid new racist slur

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Often hailed because the conscience of South Africa, Archbishop Tutu was a key campaigner in opposition to South Africa’s earlier brutal system of oppression in opposition to the nation’s Black majority

As South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu turns 90, latest racist graffiti on a portrait of the Nobel winner highlights the persevering with relevance of his work for equality.

Often hailed because the conscience of South Africa, Archbishop Tutu was a key campaigner in opposition to South Africa’s earlier brutal system of oppression in opposition to the nation’s Black majority. After South Africa achieved democracy in 1994, he continued to be an outspoken proponent of reconciliation, justice and LBGT rights.

The racial insult sprayed final month on a mural of Archbishop Tutu in Cape Town is “loathsome and sad,” mentioned Mamphela Ramphele, performing chairwoman of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Trust.

South Africans should proceed Archbishop Tutu’s work for racial equality, she informed The Associated Press.

“Racism is a curse South Africa must escape,” mentioned Ms Ramphele. “Archbishop Tutu’s legacy is huge. He fought against racism and fought for the humanity of us all.” Although frail, Archbishop Tutu is expected to attend a service on Thursday, his birthday, at St. George’s Cathedral in central Cape Town, where as the country’s first Black Anglican archbishop he delivered sermons excoriating apartheid.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his campaign of nonviolent opposition to South Africa’s system of white minority rule.

After retiring as archbishop in 1996, Archbishop Tutu was chairman of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission which investigated human rights abuses during the apartheid era.

Despite the serious nature of his work, Archbishop Tutu brought an irrepressible humour to his frequent public appearances. Notably, he supported LBGT rights and same-sex marriage.

“I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this,” he mentioned in 2013. “I’d refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I’d say Sorry, I’d a lot slightly go to the opposite place.’” Archbishop Tutu mentioned he was “as enthusiastic about this marketing campaign (for LGBT rights) as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it’s on the identical stage.”

He withdrew from public life in 2010 and issued statements by way of his basis. He has been handled for prostate most cancers and was hospitalised a number of occasions in 2015 and 2016, and underwent a surgical process to handle recurring infections from previous most cancers remedy.

At the church service Thursday, fellow anti-apartheid campaigner Alan Boesak is to talk. There will even be a web based seminar about Tutu’s life and values to be addressed by the Dalai Lama; the widow of Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel; former Irish Prime Minister Mary Robinson; and South African governance advocate Thuli Madonsela.

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