Today our nation has been thrust into mourning as we receive the unexpected news of the passing of a beloved South African icon, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. On behalf of the Inkatha Freedom Party, I extend our deepest condolences to the family, to the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation, and to all South Africans.
Archbishop Tutu served his country with utmost commitment. He was a man of faith and strong convictions who sought freedom for the oppressed. His contribution to the liberation struggle will forever be honoured in the telling of history, and his pursuit of reconciliation between black and white will stand as his life’s testimony.
As we grieve this great loss, Archbishop Tutu will be honoured for his humanity, his compassion and his capacity for forgiveness. He represented exactly what was needed as our country, and the world, transitioned from racial injustice to deepening democracy. We are grateful for his life and his service.
It is no secret, of course, that Archbishop Tutu and I did not always see eye to eye. There were moments during our liberation struggle when his actions were difficult to understand. Yet we were in the midst of a tempest. I have no doubt that we were both following our conscience and doing what we believed to be right.
This is underscored by the friendship we came to know over the last decade of his life. Our faith and our unquestionable love of country were a formidable binding agent. I thank the Lord Almighty for granting us both such length of years, so that we could reach a place of friendship, having walked such a difficult road for South Africa.
As he steps into eternity, may the Lord welcome him home. And may we who are left behind be comforted in our mourning.