Tutu, Desmond

Tutu, Desmond

▪ South African archbishop
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 1954. He resigned his post in 1957. Ordained an Anglican parish priest in 1961, Tutu lectured at a theological seminary in Johannesburg. In the late 1960s he moved to London, where he obtained an M.A. from Kings College, London. From 1972 to 1975 he served as an assistant director for the World Council of Churches. He served as dean of St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg (1975–76) and was the first black to hold that position.

      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. Gaining national and international attention, he emphasized nonviolent means of protest and encouraged the application of economic pressure by countries dealing with South Africa. The Divine Intention, a collection of his lectures, was published in 1982 and Hope and Suffering, a collection of his sermons, in 1983. In 1985 he 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 1,600,000-member Anglican church; he retired from the primacy in 1996 and became archbishop emeritus. In 1995 South African President Nelson Mandela appointed Tutu head of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, which investigated allegations of human rights abuses during the apartheid era. Since 1988 Tutu has been chancellor of the University of the Western Cape in Bellville, South Africa.

Additional Reading
Shirley Du Boulay, Tutu: Voice of the Voiceless (1988), chronicles his life and beliefs.

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Universalium. 2010.

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