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Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Born
October 7, 1931
Klerksdorp, Transvaal
Died

The Most Reverend 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 South African 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.He is generally credited with coining the term Rainbow Nation as a metaphor to describe post-apartheidist South Africa after 1994 under ANC rule. The expression has since entered mainstream consciousness to describe South Africa's ethnic diversity.

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Contents

Background
Political work
Trivia



Background - Contents

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 black South Africans. 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, ( 1962– 1966), 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." The 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. He returned to South Africa in 1975 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, all of whom attended the famous Waterford Kamhlaba School.In 1996, Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer.In 2000 Tutu received a L.H.D. from Bates College and in 2005, Tutu received an honorary degree from the University of North Florida, one of the many universities in North America and Europe where he has taught.


Political work - Contents

In 1976 protest in Soweto, also known as the Soweto Riots, against the government's use of Afrikaans in black schools became a massive uprising against apartheid. From then on Tutu supported an economic boycott of his country. Desmond Tutu was Bishop of Lesotho from 1976 until 1978, when he became Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches. From this position, he was able to continue his work against apartheid with agreement from nearly all churches. Tutu consistently advocated reconciliation between all parties involved in apartheid through his writings and lectures at home and abroad.On October 16, 1984, Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee cited his "role as a unifying leader figure in the campaign to resolve the problem of apartheid in South Africa."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.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 and gave 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 featuring 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. He has repeatedly called upon the Israeli government to respect the human dignity of the Palestinian people, whether Muslim or Christian. Tutu has also urged divestment from Israel in protest at its policies towards the Palestinians. The US- based Simon Wiesenthal Center has opposed his call.In 2003 he became the patron of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center located in Jerusalem.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. Tutu said: "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 election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay man to be a bishop in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, Desmond Tutu said, “In our Church here in South Africa, that doesn’t make a difference. We just say that at the moment, we believe that they should remain celibate and we don’t see what the fuss is about.”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."He also used the opportunity to decry homophobia and called for the acceptance of gay bishop Rt Rev Gene Robinson.
Declared Tutu: "I am deeply saddened at a time when we've got such huge problems ... that we should invest so much time and energy in this issue...I think God is weeping."
...
"Jesus did not say, 'I if I be lifted up I will draw some'," Tutu said, preaching in two morning festival services in Pasadena, California. "Jesus said, 'If I be lifted up I will draw all, all, all, all, all. Black, white, yellow, rich, poor, clever, not so clever, beautiful, not so beautiful. It's one of the most radical things. All, all, all, all, all, all, all, all. All belong. Gay, lesbian, so-called straight. All, all are meant to be held in this incredible embrace that will not let us go. All."
He continued: "Isn't it sad, that in a time when we face so many devastating problems – poverty, HIV/AIDS, war and conflict – that in our Communion we should be investing so much time and energy on disagreement about sexual orientation?"
Tutu said the Communion, which "used to be known for embodying the attribute of comprehensiveness, of inclusiveness, where we were meant to accommodate all and diverse views, saying we may differ in our theology but we belong together as sisters and brothers" now seems "hell-bent on excommunicating one another. God must look on and God must weep."
Source: [7]
On April 20, 2005, following the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, Tutu said he was sad that The Roman Catholic Church was unlikely to change its opposition to condoms amidst 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."


Trivia - Contents

  • The British lower second-class honors undergraduate degree, a '2:2', is colloquially known as a "Desmond" in his honor – see British undergraduate degree classification
  • Tutu has taught in the school of theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tutu is the author of, "God Has A Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time" published in 2004.
  • Famous Austrian-American director Billy Wilder once said: "My English is a mixture between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Archbishop Tutu".
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