Desmond Tutu’s life was about service to humanity – Historian

A historian and public affairs analyst in Nigeria, Mr Saheed Okerayi has said that the late South African anti-apartheid icon, Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s life was all about service to his country and humanity.

Okerayi, told Voice of Nigeria in an interview in Lagos, that; “One important lesson from his life is that he was fearless and always spoke the truth to power,” he said.

 “He spoke up against the maltreatment of the black majority in South Africa.

He spoke up against how the minority government treated the blacks.

He even spoke up against violence perpetrated by those fighting against apartheid.

He recommended the anti-apartheid leader as a towering example of outstanding leadership that today’s politicians and clergymen and women across the rest of the continent should emulate.

The historian challenged the clergy across Africa to use their influence to promote good governance in their countries the same way Mr Tutu did in both apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa.

Archbishop Tutu died on Sunday in the South African town of Soweto at the age of 90.

The country is marking his passing with a week of activities that will include two lying in state before he is finally laid to rest on Saturday, January 1 in Capetown.

Alongside Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu is one of South Africa’s illustrious figures respected globally.

In 1984, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his contributions to dismantling the white-minority apartheid rule which oppressed the black majority between 1948 and 1991.

Life Of Significance
According to Mr Okerayi, the Anglican bishop’s life held great significance at home and abroad adding that Mr Tutu never feared that he could lose his life under the apartheid government and even continued to serve as the conscience of the country after apartheid had been dismantled.

“The Archbishop even criticised the (African National Congress) government whenever he needed to,” he recalled.

He said Mr Tutu’s anti-apartheid stance also served as an encouragement for other liberation fighters in other southern African countries and elsewhere on the continent.

He however decried the poor race relations between black South Africans and immigrants from other African countries, saying the majority black South Africans’ erroneous view that foreigners were taking over their jobs was fueling the xenophobia in the country.

“South Africa has failed to turn out as economically prosperous as many blacks had hoped.

The gap between the rich and poor has continued to grow even wider since the end of apartheid.

He called on the South African government to do more to improve the living standard of the majority of citizens and as a result, reduce tensions between the host and immigrant communities.

Mr Okerayi also called for greater collaboration between the clergy and political leaders on the continent in the interest of the more than 1 billion residents.

Desmond Tutu’s life was about service to humanity – Historian

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