Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu (Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain)Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace prize laureate who helped end apartheid in South Africa, has died on 26 December 2021. On the occasion of his 90th birthday, on 7 October 2021, we compiled this Library Weekly. 

On 7 October 1931, South African Anglican cleric, theologian and anti-apartheid and human rights activist Desmond Mpilo Tutu was born in Klerksdorp. He was first Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996, in both cases being the first black African to hold the position. Theologically, he sought to fuse ideas from black liberation theology with African theology. 

Tutu was born of mixed Xhosa and Motswana heritage to a poor family in Klerksdorp, Union of South Africa. Entering adulthood, he trained as a teacher and married Nomalizo Leah Tutu, with whom he had several children. In 1960, he was ordained as an Anglican priest and in 1962 moved to the United Kingdom to study theology at King's College London. In 1966 he returned to southern Africa, teaching at the Federal Theological Seminary and then the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. In 1972, he became the Theological Education Fund's director for Africa, a position based in London but necessitating regular tours of the African continent. Back in southern Africa in 1975, he served first as dean of St Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg and then as Bishop of Lesotho; from 1978 to 1985 he was general-secretary of the South African Council of Churches. He emerged as one of the most prominent opponents of South Africa's apartheid system of racial segregation and white-minority rule. Although warning the National Party government that anger at apartheid would lead to racial violence, as an activist he stressed non-violent protest and foreign economic pressure to bring about universal suffrage.

In 1985, Tutu became Bishop of Johannesburg and in 1986 the Archbishop of Cape Town, the most senior position in southern Africa's Anglican hierarchy. In this position he emphasised a consensus-building model of leadership and oversaw the introduction of women priests. Also in 1986, he became president of the All Africa Conference of Churches, resulting in further tours of the continent. After President F. W. de Klerk released anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990 and the pair led negotiations to end apartheid and introduce multi-racial democracy, Tutu assisted as a mediator between rival black factions. After the 1994 general election resulted in a coalition government headed by Mandela, the latter selected Tutu to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses committed by both pro and anti-apartheid groups. After apartheid's fall, Tutu campaigned for gay rights and spoke out on a wide range of subjects, among them the Israel-Palestine conflict, his opposition to the Iraq War, and his criticism of South African presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. In 2010, he retired from public life.

Tutu polarised opinion as he rose to notability in the 1970s. White conservatives who supported apartheid despised him, while many white liberals regarded him as too radical; many black radicals accused him of being too moderate and focused on cultivating white goodwill, while Marxist–Leninists criticised his anti-communist stance. He was widely popular among South Africa's black majority, and was internationally praised for his anti-apartheid activism, receiving a range of awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. He also compiled several books of his speeches and sermons.

Source: Wikipedia

Selected publications

by Desmond Tutu

God has a dream : a vision of hope for our time / Desmond Tutu, Desmond; Douglas Abrams. - New York, NY [etc.] : Doubleday, 2004

No future without forgiveness / Desmond Tutu. - New York : Doubleday, 1999

The rainbow people of God : the making of a peaceful revolution / Desmond Tutu; John Allen. - New York [etc.] : Doubleday, cop. 1994

Hope and suffering : sermons and speeches / Desmond Tutu; Mothobi Mutloatse. - Johannesburg : Skotaville Publishers, 1983

The theology of liberation in Africa / Desmond Tutu.
In: African theology en route / ed. by Kofi Appiah-Kubi and S. Torres , p. 162-175, 1979

about Desmond Tutu

Rabble-rouser for peace : the authorized biography of Desmond Tutu / John Allen. - London [etc.] : Rider [etc.], 2006

Desmond Tutu's message : a qualitative analysis / H.J.C. Pieterse. - Leiden [etc.] : Brill, 2001

Desmond Tutu / Adrian Hadland. - Cape Town : Oxfam, 2001

Reconciliation : the Ubuntu theology of Desmond Tutu / Michael Battle. - Cleveland, Ohio : The Pilgrim Press, 1997

Tutu : voice of the voiceless / Shirley du Boulay. - London [etc.] : Hodder & Stoughton, 1988

College Tour Desmond Tutu, September 2012

Short welcome in Dutch, then interview in English (starts 1:02)

Timeline of Anglican archbishops of Cape Town via Wikidata and DBpedia