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Truth and Reconciliation Friday, 30 October, 1998, 09:17 GMT
Desmond Tutu's long crusade
A man of immense moral authority, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been one of the leading figures in the fight against apartheid in South Africa.

He was chosen by President Mandela to chair South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and investigate the crimes committed by all sides during the aparthied regime.

Desmond Tutu became the first black Anglican Dean of Johannesburg in 1975.

Religion vs politics

Under his vigorous leadership, the church in South Africa became immersed in the political struggle against aparthied.

Mr Tutu constantly told the government of the time that its racist approach defied the will of God and for that reason could not succeed.

He has strived to remain outside party politics and always used the Bible as his text, saying God decreed all Africans were equal.

In 1985, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize because of his quest for a non-violent end to apartheid.

His long crusade began to bear fruit when the reforming FW de Klerk became President in 1989. Desmond Tutu encouraged him to take chances, and the African National Congress was unbanned.

'Appalled at the evil'

Mr Tutu says he has been "appalled at the evil we have uncovered" during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's two-year investigation.

But he said it had been a "privilege" to be part of the process of "trying to heal a traumatised and wounded people".

Although the cloak of secrecy has been lifted, the revelations from the commission have stoked anger in South Africa and Archbishop Tutu has admitted that reconciliation will not be easy.

The process has also taken its toll on the 64-year-old Mr Tutu, who suffered prostate cancer last year.

"Listening to all the pain and anguish, you take it into yourself in many ways ... maybe one day you will sit down when you think of all those things and you will cry," he said.

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Desmond Tutu: "We have uncovered a great deal."
See also:

28 Jun 98 | Africa
28 Oct 98 | Africa
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