Archbishop Desmond Tutu Dead; But what Lessons can we Draw from his Life?
Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu died on Sunday 26th December 2021 at the Oasis Care Centre in Cape Town South Africa aged 90 years. He was born on 7th October 1931 at Klerksdorp in South Africa and rose to be the Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and later the Archbishop of Cape Town between the years 1986 and 1996.
He was a family, monogamous for that matter, man married to Nomalizo Leah Tutu from 1955 to 2021 and together they were blessed with four children. Besides, he has been known for a long time now as one of the key contributors towards ending the apartheid regime in South Africa.
He is now primarily identified for his theological undertaking, anti-apartheid work and human rights activist activism. He is also an author. His concerted efforts albeit little and from a different angle with other freedom crusaders such as Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu among others gave birth to a free South Africa. The one we know today.
So, what are the key take aways from Tutu’s richly lived life for those of us living today?
- Marriage can be worked upon and thrive.
I begin with marriage because marriage is losing its position in society today. Among the young people, marriage looks like a burden forced down their throats. Yet learning from Desmond Tutu, we can see that it is worthwhile to be married and when worked upon well, it turns to be a fulfilling institution.
Tutu and Nomalizo have been married for the past 66 years. Look at that period and you marvel at the possibilities. It is true that marriage has its own challenges but when two people decide to work on theirs, the marriage can stand the test of time.
Sociologists have pointed out that getting married and enjoying the pacts of a loving marriage is one of the key secrets to a long life. Not for everyone though but for Desmond, this could have been one of the key contributors to his richly long-lived life.
- It doesn’t matter where you are born, focus and hard work can get you to the top.
Desmond Tutu was born to a poor family in his native South African country. He later trained as teacher against all odds and by 1960 he was ordained as an Anglican priest. 2 yeas later, he moved to Kings College London to study for his theology course.
Later, he came back and served as the Bishop of Lesotho. It is his roles as the Bishop of Johannesburg and Archbishop of Cape Town that hoisted him into the apex of his calling given that he became the first black person to hold such office back then.
This shows what a purpose driven life can do to whoever chooses to focus, work hard and commit to a course. Today, Desmond Tutu has left behind a rich legacy as one of the world’s best leaders of our time and a legacy or title any one of us can get if they can commit to their course of endeavors.
- At Some point, if you remain true to your course, you will reap the fruits.
Throughout his activism period, Desmond Tutu promoted non violence as a way of achieving the middle ground from the far-right whites and far left blacks. He however never shied to point to the whites that the violence of the whites was as a result of the failure of their nonviolence tactics being appreciated by the whites in ending the apartheid regime. He did not fear to point the wrong with the whites and that somehow made him an enemy with a lot of them in the early years of 1980.
His promotion of non-violence ways to end apartheid in South Africa earned him one of the most coveted prizes in the world; the Nobel Peace Prize. In the mid 1990’s, Desmond Tutu played a key role in the mediation process between De Clerk and Nelson Mandela during the independence negotiations and as such South Africa gained independence.
- Epitomize the Beliefs you Crusade.
Desmond Tutu received the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. Interestingly enough, he took the 192,000 dollars prize money and shared it with his family, South African Council of Churches (SACC) staff and a scholarship fund for South Africans in exiles.
He in a way stood up to the dictates of the faith that expects we share with others. Not only that, he also testified on behalf of blacks such as the captured cell of Umkhonto We Sizwe, a group linked to the banned Africa National Congress (ANC) who were fighting against the apartheid regime.
- Leave a mark in the lives of those you interact with.
No one is perfect in this world and Tutu had his own short comings but one thing is sure, he touched the lives of those he interacted with in a big way. Ask most people and they will probably remember the signature laugh he carried along whenever he spoke.
To others he was a role model. One that they looked up to equalizing or even surpassing one day. He was a father figure to the nation and against all odds, he didn’t fear to stand for what he believed. And to you my dear reader, inspire those you interact with. Then you will realize that that will be the greatest legacy you will ever leave behind you as the light of your life dims.
I hope we learn a thing or two from Desmond Tutu’s life. Fare thee well Tutu.