RIP Desmond Tutu, a True Optimist and Believer in the Power of Sports

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Desmond Tutu, South African Anglican bishop, theologian and anti-apartheid and human rights activist passed away on Sunday at the age of 90.

A man known for his leadership and charismatic way of connecting with others through his words, Archbishop Tutu leaves behind a legacy of love. His work toward social justice in the face of the horrors and indignities shaped by apartheid, and the continued racial inequalities that followed even after that system fell with the democratic election of Nelson Mandela in 1994, was shaped by his optimism and belief in compassion.

His quest for the betterment of the people of South Africa will not soon be forgotten.

Being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and the Archbishop of Cape Town in 1986 are just a few of his accomplishments. While he will likely be touted for his advocacy of peaceful reconciliation through the use of his powerful oratory skills, let us also remember the ways in which he was quick to chastise the self-importance of world leaders when necessary as well.

Desmond Tutu was a dynamic figure who believed in fitness. He jogged every morning and did push-ups with First Lady Michelle Obama at the Cape Town Stadium that was built for the 2010 World Cup.

Tutu recognized the power of sport and the ways in which it could inspire nations, and even contribute to social cohesion.

South Africa was a nation that had for generations been shaped by a racist system of apartheid that kept the Black majority underfoot of the white minority. Yet apartheid fell, partly due to economic sanctions, including the sporting boycott which isolated South Africa from participating in the global sports enterprise. Tutu remarked that such sanctions made plain the instability of apartheid as a system ā€œbecause sports are in the makeup of South Africans.ā€

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