Heart And Soul: Desmond Tutu


Desmond Tutu

The South African archbishop has fought apartheid in his country and actively defended human rights.

Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu was born 7 October 1931, in Klerksdorp, Transvaal. He first followed the steps of his father to become a teacher, but later decided to study theology. He was ordained priest in 1960. He spent several years in the UK, before returning to Johannesburg in 1975. He was Bishop of Lesotho from 1976 to 1978, and Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches from 1978 to 1985. He emerged as one of the most prominent anti-apartheid activists, promoting non-violent protest and supporting an economic boycott of his country.

Desmond Tutu

In 1976, in response to the intensification of apartheid laws, school children and students began protesting in Soweto. The uprising led to extremely violent police actions and the death of hundreds of children and students. In 1977, Steve Biko, one of the anti-apartheid leaders, was brutally killed by the police during his detention. Desmond Tutu was invited to speak at Biko's funeral.

Desmond Tutu

Tutu kept on preaching non-violence and reconciliation between both sides with equal civil rights for all and a common system of education. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, and two years later he became the first black person to lead the Anglican Church in South Africa.

Desmond Tutu

After the fall of apartheid initiated by F. W. de Klerk, his successor Nelson Mandela named Tutu head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Desmond Tutu & Dalai Lama           Desmond Tutu           Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu has also stood for other fair causes, in and out of his country: he has repeatedly called upon the Israeli government to respect the human dignity of the Palestinian people - whether Muslim or Christian. In 2010, he announced his retirement from public life, but has continued to occasionally comment on social issues and international affairs.

Desmond Tutu

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Update 2020-07-13    Copyright Michel ENKIRI