'Conscience of His Generation': Tributes Pour In On Death of South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu

© REUTERS / MIKE HUTCHINGSMembers of the public pause after placing flowers in memory of Archbishop Desmond Tutu outside St Georges Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa, December 26, 2021.
Members of the public pause after placing flowers in memory of Archbishop Desmond Tutu outside St Georges Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa, December 26, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.12.2021
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One of the most prominent South African human rights activists and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu died on 26 December at the age of 90.
Former US president Barack Obama was among the first to pay his tributes to the outstanding archbishop.
The US Embassy in South Africa followed suit, describing the former archbishop of Cape Town as "the conscience of his generation."
The Dalai Lama also sent his condolences to Tutu's family, describing the late prelate as his friend and "a true humanitarian and a committed advocate of human rights".
Queen Elizabeth II, who is ex officio Supreme Governor of the Church of England, said she was "deeply saddened" by the death of the "tireless" human rights champion Tutu.
"I remember with fondness my meetings with him and his great warmth and humour," she said in a statement, adding that his death "will be felt by the people of South Africa, and by so many people in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and across the Commonwealth, where he was held in such high affection and esteem."
The late archbishop studied Theology at King's College, London from 1962 to 1966 and it was here, he said, that he learnt to be accepted in spite of the colour of his skin. He returned to the college in the Nineties to open the bar Tutu's which was named after him, and he remembered how, while in London, "I often used to go up to policemen to ask them directions even though I knew where I was going, because it was so funny and such a pleasure to be called 'Sir' by the police."
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson described Tutu as "a critical figure in the fight against apartheid."
Westminster Abbey shared a photo of Desmond Tutu made during a service dedicated to the life of Nelson Mandela.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation called Tutu's death an "immeasurable loss".
Bernice A King, chief executive of the Martin Luther King Jr Center for Nonviolent Social Change, called Tutu a "great, influential leader".
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu died on Sunday at the age of 90. He was one of the most prominent South African human rights activists. In 1984, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end apartheid and in 1986 was appointed Archbishop of Cape Town, the most senior Anglican post in South Africa, which he occupied until 1996. He was put in charge of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee in 1994 by Nelson Mandela and retired from public life in 2010.
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