Letters to the Editor: Desmond Tutu a ‘shining example of ... acting on our convictions’

Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa in 1985
Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks at the funerals of four young anti-apartheid activists near Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1985.
(Gideon Mendel / AFP-Getty Images)

To the editor: The captions for the two pictures used in your print edition with the excellent article about Desmond Tutu, who died Sunday, make it clear he was a man of words and deeds.

Just above the article about Tutu, the report about the challenges of accessing mental health in South L.A. reminded me of one of his quotes: “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they are falling in.”

Thank you for both articles, reminding us there is much work still to do. Tutu gives us a shining example of how to proceed, by acting on our convictions with courage and compassion.


John Saville, Corona


To the editor: In 2008, my husband and I were dining at a Cape Town, South Africa, restaurant along with a local guide. I noticed that while the chairs at our table were of a brightly painted three-legged design, the chairs at the table behind us, where a large group was dining, were conventional four-legged chairs.

At one point in the meal I shifted my weight, the chair tipped, and I fell to the floor. More embarrassed than hurt, I got up as a diner from the table behind us brought over a conventional chair, smiled and asked if I was unhurt. I thanked him and sat down.

Our guide smiled and said, “Do you know who that was? It was Desmond Tutu.”

Mimi Baer, Santa Barbara