Desmond Tutu's Most Profound Quotes As Archbishop and Anti-Apartheid Campaigner Dies Aged 90

Desmond Tutu has died at the age of 90 in Cape Town, South Africa, with tributes flooding in for the South African archbishop who was instrumental in the ending of the country's apartheid regime.

Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his non-violent opposition against the country's white minority rule and brutal system of oppression against the Black majority.

"The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation's farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa," South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a heartfelt statement.

"From the pavements of resistance in South Africa to the pulpits of the world's great cathedrals and places of worship, and the prestigious setting of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the Arch distinguished himself as a non-sectarian, inclusive champion of universal human rights."

One of the leading forces in the struggle for freedom for Black South Africans, Tutu was renowned for his leadership in the non-violent movement.

Following the fall of apartheid, Tutu was an outspoken activist for many other causes including campaigning for gay rights, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and his opposition to the Iraq War.

Desmond Tutu
Nobel Peace Prize laureate and South African icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu attends the unveiling ceremony of the Arch for the Arch monument as part of celebrations for his 86th birthday on October 7, 2017 in Cape Town. - The Arch for the Arch, represents the 14 chapters of the South African constitution. GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP via Getty Images

A man of many words, Tutu will certainly be remembered for his wisdom.

Here Are Some of Desmond Tutu's Most Profound Quotes

"I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this. I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place. I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid." Speech at the launch of a United Nation's gay rights campaign in 2013, per BBC.

Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, attends an exhibition and book launch of notable photographs of his life, which have been turned into paintings, on April 27, 2019, in the centre of Cape Town. - This event was also organised to commemorate 25 years of democracy in South Africa, as the country's first democratic elections took place on April 27, 1994. RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty Images

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." (Oxford Reference)

Desmond Tutu
Former Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu takes up his position as Visiting Professor in Post Conflict Societies at Kings College London, January 14, 2004 at the university's campus in central London, England. Tutu's role at King's College London coincides with the 175th Anniversary of the College. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness." (Goodreads)

Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace Laureate, emerges from the Brooklyn Chest Hospital, after being vaccinated against COVID 19, in Cape Town, on May 17, 2021. This is the first day of the mainstream COVID 19 vaccination process in various parts of South Africa. RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty Images

"I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of human rights." January 1985, per BBC.

"Perpetrators don't have horns, don't have tails, they are as ordinary looking as you and I. The people who supported Hitler were not demons, they were often very respectable people," February 2006, per BBC.

Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, London, England - 1980: Archbishop Desmond Tutu at a conference in London. Derek Hudson/Getty Images

"We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low." Sunday Times, April 15, 2001, per Oxford Reference.

"Peace comes when you talk to the guy you most hate. And that's where the courage of a leader comes, because when you sit down with your enemy, you as a leader must already have very considerable confidence from your own constituency." The Atlantic, 2009.

Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu
Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, 01 January, 1990. David Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

"Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust." April 2002, per BBC.