South Africa has lost one of its most powerful voices for justice. He loomed large on the national and international stage for decades as a fighter for human rights, human dignity and peace.
He joined our line up of heroic South African dignitaries that were Nobel Peace Laureates who dedicated their lives to bring an end to Apartheid, racial discrimination and all that denigrated human dignity.
We salute him and honour this brave fighter for peace, justice and human rights for all. He loomed large in our struggle for liberation and freedom for decades and post democracy he was a constant reminder of our collective responsibility to bring an end to poverty, human suffering and corruption.
We shall remember him for his unconditional love for friend and foe alike. Most of all we shall remember him as a friend of the oppressed who believed that to be neutral in a situation of injustice is to support the oppressor.
We shall never forget his unequivocal support for the Palestinian struggle. He deemed it no less significant than our own struggle in South Africa and he spared no words for those who perpetuate Apartheid in occupied Palestine and who uphold and support the injustices and crimes against humanity unleashed against innocent Palestinians.
Most of all he was a man of principle who spoke out against injustice wherever it raised its ugly head. He devoted the best years of his life to realise the goal of a South Africa of our dreams; a united, non-racial, non-sexist, just, democratic and prosperous South Africa, an African continent at peace with itself and a better and more just world.
His lasting legacy is written in the blood, sweat and tears of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and will forever stand as a monument to his humanity and extra-ordinary capacity to forgive, reconcile, restitute and rebuild anew. This is the unfinished work that my grandfather President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and now Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu bequeathed to us.
South Africa is poorer for his passing especially at a time when it is being sorely tested and coming unstuck. The failed insurrection of July 2021 served as a timely reminder of the call made by Archbishop Tutu that we all either rise together and heal the poverty, human suffering and lack of service delivery in our land or we face the tsunami of rage and anger that will engulf us.
The agenda of national reconciliation, nation building and social cohesion will never be realised as long as poverty, inequality and under-development are perpetuated. Therefore, the best tribute we as a nation can pay to Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu is to find the moral compass of our nation and work for a better nation and a more just world.
Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and grandson of famed South African President Nelson Mandela. Member of Parliament (MP) South Africa National Assembly. All articles by Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela