South African cleric, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, played a leading role in drawing attention to the iniquities of apartheid at home and abroad. He was the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and Bishop of the Anglican Church of South Africa. A strong advocate of the nonviolent path to liberation, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
Desmond Mpilo Tutu was born in Klerksdorp, Transvaal, South Africa. When he was twelve years old, his family moved to Johannesburg. Following graduation from Johannesburg Bantu High School in 1950 he was accepted into medical school but his family were unable to afford the tuition. Tutu was awarded a scholarship to study education. He graduated with a teaching certificate from Pretoria Bantu Normal College in 1953 and was awarded BA degree from University of South Africa in 1954. Following graduation he returned to Johannesburg to teach English and History at Bantu High School.
Tutu became disillusioned with the system of education which had been devised by the apartheid regime for black South Africans. He resigned from his teaching position and, in 1958 began studying at St. Peter’s Theological College in Johannesburg. He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1961. He moved to England where he was awarded an MA degree in theology from Kings College in 1966. Following various appointments in South Africa and England, Tutu in 1975, became the first black person to be appointed the Anglican Dean of Johannesburg.
In 1978 Desmond Tutu was selected as the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. The appointment put him in a powerful position to advocate for an end to apartheid. Apartheid finally came to an end in 1993 and Archbishop Tutu was given the honour of introducing the newly elected Nelson Mandela as President to the nation in 1994. President Mandela appointed Archbishop Tutu as head Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigating and reporting on the human rights violations of the previous 34 years in South Africa.
Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah Nomalizo have four children. They were educated at Waterford School as were the children of many leading South Africans who were opposed to apartheid. Now known as Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa it was founded by Englishman Michael Stern in opposition to the South African apartheid regime. Though Bishop Tutu has officially retired he continues to advocate for justice and equality.
The Most Revd Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, was born in the year 1931 On This Day.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu outside Tuto House, Soweto by wesselspj on 2011-10-15 11:54:36
Archbishop Desmond Tutu on his 80th birthday by DFAT photo library on 2013-11-04 20:17:41
Photo by Brett Jordan