NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The world is remembering Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The South African anti-apartheid leader’s family said he died peacefully on Sunday morning in Cape Town at the age of 90.
CBS2’s Leah Mishkin looks back on the legacy he leaves behind.READ MORE: South Africa Detects New Coronavirus Variant Amid Spike In Cases
“I am free. You are free. We are all free,” Tutu once said.
He was a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1984. In South Africa, his voice helped end apartheid, the decades-long segregation and brutality against the country’s Black majority.
“The primary terrorism in this country comes from the government,” Tutu said.
Tutu preached nonviolence. Apartheid ended in 1994, the year former President Nelson Mandela took office.
Mandela appointed Tutu as South Africa’s first Black archbishop to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He didn’t fight back tears as he listened to testimony detailing the horrors of the apartheid.
“I would say he was South Africa’s Dr. King,” Queens native Nana Asare Asamani said.
Across the street from the Apollo Theater in Harlem, Asamani thanked the South African leader for the road he paved.READ MORE: Obama Warns Of 'Politics Of Fear' In Mandela Address On Values
“Let’s hope that we can produce more people like that with the bravery in them that can stand up to injustice,” Asamani said.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams wrote, “One quote of his in particular always stays with me: ‘There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.'”
People all over the world remembered the man who knew how to make a room smile.
“One lady said to me, ‘If they do this when you come here, can you imagine what is going to happen when Nelson comes?'” Tutu once said.
As the United Nations secretary general put it, “His great wisdom and experience were always communicated with humanity, humor and heart.”
Former President Barack Obama tweeted, “Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a mentor, a friend, and a moral compass for me and so many others.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a mentor, a friend, and a moral compass for me and so many others. A universal spirit, Archbishop Tutu was grounded in the struggle for liberation and justice in his own country, but also concerned with injustice everywhere. pic.twitter.com/qiiwtw8a5B
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 26, 2021
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote about meeting the archbishop when he visited New York City during his time in office, saying, “His leadership in bringing down apartheid and promoting reconciliation inspired the world — and his legacy will live wherever there are people working for justice and healing.”
Tutu was asked how he wanted to be remembered. He told the Associated Press: “He loved. He laughed. He cried. He was forgiven. He forgave. Greatly privileged.”
The Dalai Lama wrote the best way to honor his friend is to “do as he did and constantly look to see how we, too, can be of help to others.”MORE NEWS: Lions Eat Group Of Suspected Rhino Poachers In South Africa
CBS2’s Leah Mishkin contributed to this report.