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Archbishop Tutu’s life and work remembered at Anglican Cathedral

Celebrating Desmond Tutu: From left, Linda Bogle-Mienzer of the BPSU, Cordell Riley of Curb, Miles Saaddyah Manders, Bishop Nicholas Dill, Aaron Crichlow of Bermuda Is Love and Kevin Grant of the BPSU (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Activists yesterday remembered the life and example of hero anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu on the steps of the Anglican Cathedral in Hamilton.

The gathering to commemorate the South African activist and Anglican Archbishop was called by activist Glenn Fubler, a leading figure in Bermuda’s anti-apartheid movement.

Archbishop Tutu died last Sunday, aged 90, in Cape Town, South Africa.

Mr Fubler highlighted the Cathedral’s link to Archbishop Tutu, from a visit there in 1985 by his mentor, English anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, who was invited to the island by the Bermuda Anti-Apartheid Coalition.

Archbishop Huddleston had worked as a priest in the town where Archbishop Tutu grew up.

Mr Fubler said: “Out of that, Desmond Tutu chose, after first being a teacher, to go into the clergy.

“That became a platform for his work to transform South Africa.”

He added: “Remember, at that time South Africa’s apartheid regime was a police state where those working towards freedom were either killed, imprisoned or in exile.”

The Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, the Anglican Bishop of Bermuda, led a prayer of thanks for Archbishop Tutu’s “extraordinary contribution, not only on the world stage, but in his home country as a force for truth and reconciliation”.

The group was joined by Aaron Crichlow, a founding member of the volunteer group Bermuda Is Love, which he said was created to promote “love for our community and our environment”.

He is the grandson of Erskine Simmons, a leading member of the Progressive Group that helped demolish Bermuda’s racist segregation policies with the non-violent 1959 Theatre Boycott.

Mr Crichlow said: “Desmond Tutu was a world champion of peace.”

Cordell Riley, the acting president of Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda, said more than 1,000 people had been through the organisations own truth and reconciliation conversation, inspired by Archbishop Tutu’s example.

Kevin Grant, the secretary general of the Bermuda Public Services Union, said Archbishop Tutu stood for resilience, human rights and solidarity.

He added: “Solidarity is one of the main tenets of trade unionism – especially for the BPSU.”

Linda Bogle-Mienzer, the labour relations organiser for the BPSU, said Archbishop Tutu also supported LGBT rights.

She added: “One of the things I appreciated about Brother Desmond was he was able to understand the intersectionality between all causes when it came to injustice.”

Mr Fubler asked the group to gather to the drums of musician Miles Saaddyah Manders, in celebration of Archbishop Tutu’s “joy for life”.

He said 2022 should be a time for “embracing the example of this small man of stature but a giant heart that left an example for all of us”.

He highlighted a joint statement in support of 2022 as a celebration of Archbishop Tutu’s memory and legacy.

The statement was signed by former premiers Alex Scott and Sir John Swan; Joan Dillas-Wright, the president of the Senate and vice-president Michelle Simmons; Lisa Reed, the executive officer of the Human Rights Commission; Dwight Jackson, secretary-general of the Bermuda Trade Union Congress; Keith Jensen, the executive officer of the Bermuda Employers’ Council; Kevin Grant secretary-general of the Bermuda Public Services Union; Bishop Dill; the Right Reverend Wes Spiewak, Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Hamilton; Imam Saleem Talbot of the Bermuda Islamic Cultural Centre Islamic Community; and Diana Kempe, a former barrister.

· To read the joint statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

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Published December 31, 2021 at 7:57 am (Updated December 31, 2021 at 7:57 am)

Archbishop Tutu’s life and work remembered at Anglican Cathedral

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