During the difficult years leading to the final collapse and dismantling of apartheid, Bishop Desmond Tutu, then the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and leader of the Anglican Church in South Africa, was an inspirational figure. He was clear and forthright in his unequivocal condemnation of the evils of the apartheid regime, but also clear in his condemnation of cruelties inflicted in the name of the resistance. ON more than one occasion, he put his own life at risk to protect vulnerable people who had been set upon by mobs accusing them of collaboration with the authorities. Without his intervention, some of these people would surely have been murdered I particularly gruesome fashion – by being burned alive in the infamous (“necklace” method).
After the arrival of democracy, he gained still further in stature by his wise and compassionate chairing of the “Truth & Reconciliation Commission”, which did so much to smooth the path towards national healing. (That healing has not yet been achieved, but is assuredly closer than it would have been without the commission’s work). Since then, he has not been afraid to criticise the new, black politicians who have come to office when they in turn abuse their new power in pursuit of personal or group advancement.