Practical Theologist Reflects on Life of Late South African Archbishop
"Without any doubt, Tutu’s influence on many people’s social, academic and church life has been phenomenal".
"These became fundamental ideologies which he lived for throughout his life. This gave him the courage to confront political bullies who sought to silence the truth even from within his own Anglican church. Even though he was accused of bringing politics into the pulpit, to a point of him being described as 'political predikant' (an Afrikaans word meaning priest or minister of religion), he remained an unstoppable thorn or pain to the political bullies and their unjust systems against the black people", Baloyi added.
"Tutu's methods for dealing with issues of human oppression was to return to the scripture in search for a liberative approach with the people and for the people. He placed the Bible at the centre of theologisation and black people's struggles. For Tutu, the question of what it means to be human was an important one, particularly, where human dignity seemed to have been removed by existential conditions. In the context of South Africa and many other African countries, corruption has established itself as an institution where ransacking resources that are meant to alleviate poverty is worsening. In such context, how can human dignity be defined or understood in a situation where hunger, unemployment, poor health and lack of basic services exist? In all these challenges, the existence of poverty diminishes the rights to dignity to the core", said the practical theology scholar.
“The degree to which this theology is meaningful and impactful in relations to the challenges that people face on the ground. Whether this theology is ideologically in sync with the realities of the masses of people on the ground. But whatever the responses are, a church that fails to address social issues, cannot be a relevant and true church of God in society. The church must lead with its moral voice in the process of liberating its people from any condition that seeks to dehumanise them. For as long as the experiences of people involve pain and suffering, Desmond Tutu’s theology remains relevant in the context of South Africa”, Baloyi told Sputnik.
"The Special Official Funeral will take place in St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, on New Year’s Day, Saturday, 1 January 2022. Desmond Tutu was the first black cleric to be elected as the Bishop of Johannesburg before being inaugurated in 1986 as the first black cleric to become Archbishop of Cape Town. He also served as the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and as Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In recognition of the late Archbishop Emeritus’ distinguished life and invaluable contribution to the nation, President Ramaphosa has designated the late leader’s funeral as a Special Official Funeral – Category 1", the statement read.