South African youth learn about Tutu's activism to equality

JOHANNESBURG, (AP) -- The legacy of Archbishop Desmond Tutu is still being felt by many young South Africans. Many were not there when the clergyman fought apartheid and sought full rights to the nation's Black minority.

South African youth learn about Tutu's activism to equality

Tutu, who was 90 years old, died Sunday. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

Some young South Africans, even though they didn't know much about him on Monday, told The Associated Press that they knew his role in helping their country become a democracy.

Zinhle Gamede (16 years old) said that she learned about Tutu's death through social media and has been learning more about him in the past day.

"At first, I knew he was an archbishop. Gamede stated that he didn't know much more.

She stated that Tutu's passing had motivated her to research South Africa's past, particularly the struggle against white minority rule.

"I believe that those who fought for freedom are great people. They have made the world a better place. She said that today I live my life free from restrictions, which is a stark contrast to the past where freedom was restricted.

After South Africa's 1994 democratic transition, apartheid was overthrown, Tutu became the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This commission documented the atrocities committed during apartheid and attempted to promote reconciliation. Tutu was also a prominent religious leader who championed LGBTQ rights.

Lesley Morake (25), said that he was a gay person and it is not common for people in the church to speak openly about gay issues. However, he came across gay activists who used his quotes during campaigns. "That was how I learned about him and that is what will stay with me."

Tshepo Nakatlo, 32 said that he will focus on the positive aspects he hears about Tutu and not on negative sentiments he read on social media.

Nkatlo stated, "One of the things that I picked up on Facebook and twitter was that some people were criticizing his for the TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] because there are still many problems regarding the TRC." Nkatlo was referring to those who believe Tutu should be tougher on whites who committed abuses under apartheid and should've ordered them to face trial.

South Africa has declared a week-long mourning period for Tutu. To honor Tutu, bells tolled at St. George's Anglican Cathedral in Cape Town at noon Monday. For five days, the bells at "the people’s cathedral", where Tutu helped to unify South Africans against apartheid will ring for 10 minutes each day.

"We ask everyone who hears the bells to take a moment to pay tribute to Tutu, current archbishop in Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba. Anglican churches in South Africa will also ring their bells this week at noon, and the Angelus Prayer will be recited.

As tributes from all over the globe came in, several services were planned in South Africa to honour Tutu's memory.

Makgoba stated that Tutu's coffin would be displayed at Cape Town's cathedral Friday to allow the public to pass the casket. This will "reflect the simplicity with which the he requested to be buried." Tutu's remains will be "lie alone in the cathedral he loved" on Friday night.

Officials from the church said Monday that a requiem Mass will take place Saturday. Tutu's wishes were that he be cremated and his ashes be placed in the cathedral's mausoleum.

A pre-eminent and interfaith service for Tutu will also be held in Pretoria, South Africa's capital.

South Africans are placing flowers at the cathedral in front Tutu’s Cape Town home in Milnerton and his former residence in Soweto.

President Cyril Ramaphosa paid respects to Tutu's widow Leah at Tutu’s Cape Town home Monday.

He knew deep down that good would triumph over bad, that justice would prevail in the face of iniquity, that reconciliation would win over vengeance and recrimination. Ramaphosa stated Sunday night that apartheid would be overthrown and that democracy would prevail in a nationally broadcast speech.

"He knew our people would be free. Ramaphosa stated that he believed that poverty, hunger, and misery could be overcome. He also said that he was certain that all people can live in peace, security, and comfort.

Ramaphosa stated, "May we follow his footsteps." "May we also be worthy inheritors the mantle service, selflessness, courage and principled solidarity with the marginalized and poor."

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