Desmond Tutu

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Desmond Mpilo Tutu (born October 7, 1931) is a South African cleric and activist who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. Tutu was the first black Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, and primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.



Born in Klerksdorp, Transvaal, Tutu moved with his family to Johannesburg at age 12. Although he wanted to become a physician, his family could not afford the training, and he followed his father's footsteps into teaching. Tutu studied at the Pretoria Bantu Normal College from 1951 through 1953. Tutu went on to teach at Johannesburg Bantu High School where he remained until 1957; he resigned following the passage of the Bantu Education Act, protesting the poor educational prospects for blacks. He continued his studies, this time in theology, and in 1960 was ordained as an Anglican priest. He became chaplain at the University of Fort Hare, a hotbed of dissent, and one of the few quality universities for black students in the southern part of Africa.

Tutu left his post as chaplain and travelled to King's College, London, (19621966), where he received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Theology. He returned to South Africa and from 1967 until 1972 used his lectures to highlight the circumstances of the black population. He wrote a letter to Prime Minister Vorster, in which he described the situation in South Africa as a "powder barrel that can explode at any time". This letter was never answered.

In 1972 Tutu returned to the UK, where he was appointed vice-director of the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches, at Bromley in Kent. In 1975 he returned to South Africa and was appointed Dean of St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg—the first black person to hold that position.

He has been married to Leah Nomalizo Tutu since 1955. They have four children: Trevor Thamsanqa, Theresa Thandeka, Naomi Nontombi and Mpho Andrea.

Political work

In 1976, the pupil and student rebellion in Soweto began, and from that point on Tutu supported an economic boycott of his country. Desmond Tutu was Bishop of Lesotho from 1976 until 1978, and in 1978 he became Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches. From his position as Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches, Tutu could continue his work against apartheid with agreement from nearly all churches. Tutu consistently preached reconciliation between all parties involved in apartheid, through both his publications and his journeys abroad.

On October 16, 1984, Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The announcement of the award cited his "role as a unifying leader figure in the campaign to resolve the problem of apartheid."

Tutu became the first black person to lead the Anglican Church in South Africa on September 7, 1986. In 1989 Tutu was invited to Birmingham, England, as part of Citywide Christian Celebrations; Tutu and his wife visited a number of establishments including Nelson Mandela School in Sparkbrook. The acclaimed black photographer Pogus Caesar took a number of rare photographs which documented Tutu's memorable trip.

After the fall of apartheid, he headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, for which he was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999.

In 2004, Tutu returned to the UK as Visiting Professor in Post-Conflict Societies at King's College London and also to give the Commemoration Oration, as part of the College's 175th anniversary. He also visited the students' union nightclub, named "Tutu's" in his honour and that features a rare bust of his likeness.

Political views

Tutu believes the treatment of Palestinians by the Jewish state of Israel is a form of apartheid.Template:Ref He has repeatedly called upon the Israeli government to respect the human dignity of the Palestinian people, whether Muslim or Christian. In 2003 he became the patron of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center ( located in Jerusalem. The Zionist Organization of America has repeatedly accused Tutu of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, primarily for various remarks he has made about Israel. Its president, Morton A. Klein, has made the claim that "Tutu's prejudice against Jews, hostility towards Zionism, and indifference to Jewish victims of Arab terrorism are not the qualities one normally expects to find in a man of peace."Template:Ref

The Nobel laureate also has expressed support for the West Papuan independence movement, criticizing the United Nations' role in the takeover of West Papua by Indonesia: "For many years the people of South Africa suffered under the yoke of oppression and apartheid. Many people continue to suffer brutal oppression, where their fundamental dignity as human beings is denied. One such people is the people of West Papua."

Tutu has also criticised human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, calling Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe a "caricature of an African dictator", and criticising the South African government's policy of quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe.

Commenting days after the August 5, 2003, Episcopal Church gay bishop ordination, Desmond Tutu said that he does not see what "all the fuss" is about: "For us [the Anglican Church in South Africa] that doesn't make a difference, the sexual orientation."Template:Ref

In January 2005, Tutu added his voice to the growing dissent over terrorist suspects held at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, referring to detentions without trial as "utterly unacceptable."

On April 20, 2005, following the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, Tutu said he was sad that The Catholic Church was unlikely to change its opposition to condoms amid the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa: "We would have hoped for someone more open to the more recent developments in the world, the whole question of the ministry of women and a more reasonable position with regards to condoms and HIV / Aids."Template:Ref


  1. Template:Note Desmond Tutu, "Apartheid in the Holy Land (," The Guardian April 29, 2002 (accessed June 11, 2005).
  2. Template:Note Jacob Goodman and Libby Goodman, "Tutu To Speak At Brandeis U. Despite Never Retracting Anti-Semitic Remarks (," Zionist Organization of America, May 12, 2000 (accessed June 11, 2005).
  3. Template:Note "Desmond Tutu: gay bishop row is just 'fuss' (," UK, August 11, 2005 (accessed June 11, 2005).
  4. Template:Note "Africans hail conservative Pope (," BBC News, April 20, 2005 (accessed June 11, 2005).


Tutu is the author of six collections of sermons and writings:

  • Crying in the Wilderness (1982)
  • Hope and Suffering: Sermons and Speeches (1983)
  • The Words of Desmond Tutu (1989)
  • The Rainbow People of God (1994)
  • The Essential Desmond Tutu (1997)
  • No Future without Forgiveness (1999)
  • God Has a Dream: A vision for hope in our time. (2004)

External links

de:Desmond Tutu fi:Desmond Tutu fr:Desmond Mpilo Tutu ms:Desmond Tutu nl:Desmond Tutu ja:デズモンド・ムピロ・ツツ no:Desmond Tutu pl:Desmond Tutu pt:Desmond Tutu sv:Desmond Tutu minnan:Desmond Tutu zh:杜圖


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