Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was popular in the 1980s for opposing apartheid in South Africa is the latest victim of another online death hoax after the social rights activist was readmitted to a hospital on September 17. Earlier this month, the former bishop had undergone surgery to address a recurring infection.
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The 84-year old Nobel laureate had already spent three weeks in a hospital in Cape Town to treat the infection through minor surgery. But just a few days later his wife confirmed that he returned to the hospital, this time, to treat the wounds of the surgery.
It did not take long for the internet to misinterpret the announcement of his wife, with some satirists twisting the truth to make it seem that Tutu had passed away.
The news about his passing was so believable that a women’s group in South Africa had even sent their condolences to the family of Tutu.
According to sources, the “ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) had to issue an unreserved apology on Monday after its secretary-general, Meokgo Matuba, passed the organization’s condolences to the Tutu family without knowing the source of the news was a hoax site.”
South Africa media body condemns Desmond Tutu death hoax
This prompted the backlash from South African media bodies like the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) who condemned the false story.
“Sanef notes and strongly condemns yesterday’s [Monday] false story about the well-being of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, which has done the rounds on social media,” said SANEF in their statement. “Such inaccurate reports by websites masquerading as credible news sources are highly damaging and hurtful to those involved and their families.”
Meanwhile, Archbishop Desmond Tutu seemed to be on his way to a speedy recovery, even taking to Twitter to share his gratitude with his supporters. His Tweet can be seen below.
Thank you all you tweeters and facebookers for the love and prayers for my good health. Love is the best medicine. God bless you all!
— DesmondTutu Official (@TheDesmondTutu) September 19, 2016
The internet has recently been marred by numerous death hoaxes involving mostly Hollywood celebrities and political personalities. The last ones to fall prey to these rumors were Jaden Smith and Sylvester Stallone, who were both falsely reported to have committed suicide.
The two stars are also alive and well, for the record.
Photo Courtesy: Skoll Foundation/ Flickr