A group of mourners on Sunday gathered Sunday outside St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town where they laid their wreaths and paid their last respects to a 90-year-old Anglican priest.
“The death of the Arch has affected many of us. Even those who did not always agree with him politically pay their last respects to the chief,” Tsweu Moleme, whose father was trained by Tutu at Munsieville High School during the apartheid era, told Al Jazeera.
Many memorial services are being organized in the major cities of Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Pretoria, as tributes are entering from African and foreign leaders to a man who was instrumental in building a democratic South Africa.
Modibe Madiba, who runs the well-known news channel, Insight Factor, told Al Jazeera black South African youth “continue to face the consequences of the way leaders like Archbishop Tutu have led the nation-building work” in the country.
“I am touched by the legacy of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I live in a racist country. This is what Tutu fought against apartheid, he allowed us to inherit the legacy of apartheid in the end,” he said.
“The country must remember that the war on apartheid was not a war of attrition. It was a war for justice, economic opportunity, a senseless loss of life, and for people who had been deprived of their land by the apartheid regime.
However, some South Africans still oppose Tutu’s role as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). was established in 1994 exposing the atrocities perpetrated by the white supremacist government from 1948 to 1991, when apartheid laws were abolished.
The rallies ended when most of the apartheid leaders left blanket amnesty – a history that has now sparked controversy over how the archbishop should be remembered.
“Archbishop Tutu should be remembered for his anti-apartheid ideology and later became one of the blacks who left many black people to enjoy the post-CODESA era,” Madiba said, referring to the Convention for the Democratic South Africa, an umbrella. a group of about 100 groups that discussed the end of apartheid in the country.
Jason, a 29-year-old resident of Pretoria, said that while the TRC “must do more” to achieve justice for blacks, blacks and Indians in South Africa, Tutu’s legacy is “not tarnished” by its consequences.
“Archbishop Tutu took the initiative to restore justice and rightly so, because bloodshed was not the answer at the time,” Jason, who is known by the same name, told Al Jazeera.
It is a Tutu-inspired idea that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for him. non-violent efforts ending apartheid and white supremacy in the African continent.
Sikhumbuzo Mgxwati, 32, is one of South Africa’s most influential young South Africans who has no doubt about the legacy of the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
“Growing up, we were fed up with the idea of racist heroes as liberators of black people, but today, you realize they just adopted the same system that led us to oppression, to living a miserable and unlucky life,” he told Al Jazeera.
Mgxwati said he would not attend the Tutu memorial service. He said the history of anti-apartheid activists such as Tutu was “often downgraded” to fit a particular issue.
“I am saddened by the death of his family, but I want him to be remembered as a colonial weapon,” he said.
Mgxwati cites Tutu’s public criticism of anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who asked him to apologize for his role in the anti-apartheid movement at the TRC conference.
However, following Winnie’s death in 2018, the Archbishop was released words as he said that “in hindsight, his (Winnie’s) courage was very encouraging” to him and to generations of South African freedom fighters.
Lungelo Nkosi, 27, said he wanted the country to be based on the good deeds of the late Archbishop.
“I’m sorry. He played a key role in pushing for sanctions on apartheid South Africa, “he told Al Jazeera.
“Among the many other exciting developments in South Africa was his call for a change in the South African Rugby Union,” Nkosi said.
Melissa Bingham, 24, said she would like to send a message of condolence to a government memorial paper set up for the archbishop.
“Forgiveness was his motive, not perfection. He did not waver in his determination to build bridges that were torn down by injustice, and as a result, he deserves more compassion. ”