Members of the LGBT community in Cape Town on Monday paid tribute to the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as they hailed his contribution to their community’s struggle for justice and equal rights.
An LGBT activist, Saya Pierce-Jones said Tutu would be remembered for his contribution towards the promotion of love and acceptance for all.
“What the Arch (referring to Desmond Tutu by his often-used nickname) has done really well his entire lifetime was stick to the ideas of promoting absolute love, absolute acceptance and absolute kindness, no matter who you are, no matter your sexuality or race…”
In 2013, the Nobel peace prize laureate was reported to have said “I would not worship a God who is homophobic,” when he was launching a campaign for LGBTQ rights in Cape Town. “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say, ‘Sorry, I would much rather go to the other place.”
Tutu campaigned internationally for LGBTQ rights and same-sex marriage. And also played an instrumental in helping South Africans during the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
“He was a man who was amongst us in the early days of HIV, for example, speaking out about it. He was a man who fully spoke about sexuality when the church were not speaking about sexuality.”
Tutu died on Sunday at the age of 90 years peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Center in Cape Town, his trust said.
He had been hospitalized several times since 2015 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997.
A seven-day mourning period is planned in Cape Town before Tutu’s burial, including a two-day lying in state, an ecumenical service and an Anglican requiem mass at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town.
The southern city’s landmark Table Mountain will be lit up in purple, the colour of the robes Tutu wore as archbishop.