‘A True South African Giant’: Tributes for Desmond Tutu, a Force for Harmony

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who had struck up a friendship with Archbishop Tutu, recalled “the spiritual bond” the two shared.

“He was a true humanitarian and a committed advocate of human rights,” he wrote in a letter addressed to Archbishop Tutu’s daughter Mpho Tutu van Furth. He added, “I am convinced the best tribute we can pay him and keep his spirit alive is to do as he did and constantly look to see how we too can be of help to others.”

Many pointed to his unity, harmony and service to democracy in their tributes.

“Exceedingly heartsore to note the passing of Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu,” Thuli Madonsela, a former public protector for South Africa, wrote on Twitter. “He was one of the best among us. He brought light to darkness and lightness to heaviness.”

John Steenhuisen, the leader of the Democratic Alliance, South Africa’s opposition party, tweeted, “A true South African giant has left us, but his spirit will live on in the everyday kindness we South Africans show each other, and in our continued effort to build a united, successful, nonracial SA for all.”

Other leaders and officials outside South Africa also shared their condolences.

“His adage, ‘Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument’, has never felt more apt,” Dominic Raab, Britain’s deputy prime minister, wrote on Twitter.

“An Icon has rested,” Charity Ngilu, a Kenyan lawmaker who became the first woman to run for president in 1997, tweeted. “The history of democracy can’t be told without mentioning his contribution. Rest with the angels man of God.”

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