Desmond Tutu, in full Desmond Mpilo Tutu, (born October 7, 1931, Klerksdorp, South Africa), South African Anglican cleric who in 1984 received the Nobel Prize for Peace for his role in the opposition to apartheid in South Africa.
Tutu was born of Xhosa and Tswana parents and was educated in South African mission schools at which his father taught. Though he wanted a medical career, Tutu was unable to afford training and instead became a schoolteacher in 1955. He resigned his post in 1957. He then attended St. Peter’s Theological College in Johannesburg and was ordained an Anglican priest in 1961. In 1962 he moved to London, where in 1966 he obtained an M.A. from King’s College London. From 1972 to 1975 he served as an associate director for the World Council of Churches. He was appointed dean of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg in 1975, the first Black South African to hold that position. From 1976 to 1978 Tutu served as bishop of Lesotho.
In 1978 Tutu accepted an appointment as the general secretary of the South African Council of Churches and became a leading spokesperson for the rights of Black South Africans. During the 1980s he played an unrivaled role in drawing national and international attention to the iniquities of apartheid. He emphasized nonviolent means of protest and encouraged the application of economic pressure by countries dealing with South Africa. The award of the 1984 Nobel Prize for Peace to Tutu sent a significant message to South African Pres. P.W. Botha’s administration. In 1985, at the height of the township rebellions in South Africa, Tutu was installed as Johannesburg’s first Black Anglican bishop, and in 1986 he was elected the first Black archbishop of Cape Town, thus becoming the primate of South Africa’s 1.6 million-member Anglican church. In 1988 Tutu took a position as chancellor of the University of the Western Cape in Bellville, South Africa.
During South Africa’s moves toward democracy in the early 1990s, Tutu propagated the idea of South Africa as “the Rainbow Nation,” and he continued to comment on events with varying combinations of trenchancy and humour. In 1995 South African Pres. Nelson Mandela appointed Tutu head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated allegations of human rights abuses during the apartheid era.
Desmond Tutu is one of South Africa’s most well-known human rights activists, winning the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in resolving and ending apartheid. Born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, Transvaal, South Africa, he became the first Black Anglican Archbishop of both Cape Town and Johannesburg. Known as the voice of the voiceless Black South Africans he was an outspoken critic of apartheid. Tutu also supported the economic boycott of South Africa, while constantly encouraging reconciliation between various factions associated with apartheid.
When Nelson Mandela was elected as the nation’s first Black president—he appointed Tutu chairperson of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
In his human rights work, Tutu formulated his objective as “a democratic and just society without racial divisions,” and set forth demands for its accomplishment, including equal civil rights for all, a common system of education and the cessation of forced deportation.
In addition to the Nobel Prize, Tutu has been bestowed numerous awards, including the Pacem in Terris Award, the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award, the Lincoln Leadership Prize and the Gandhi Peace Prize.
In other news – How South African celebs celebrated Christmas – Photos
South African celebrities took to their social media to celebrate Christmas eve and also wish friends, family, and fans a Merry Christmas.
They also took the opportunity to give followers a glimpse into their glamorous festive celebrations sharing photos of themselves and their family celebrating this special time of the year in style. Learn more