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Who Was Desmond Tutu?

Written by Naina Mahajan, a grade 6 student.

Desmond Tutu will be remembered for many things, but he’ll be best known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist…

By I Kid You Not , in People , at January 14, 2022 Tags: , ,

Written by Naina Mahajan, a grade 6 student.

Desmond Tutu will be remembered for many things, but he’ll be best known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist.

The anti-apartheid movement was a movement to stop the discrimination of the black people, especially in South Africa. It’s foremost leader was Nelson Mandela, though Reverend Tutu also played a big role in it.

Quick word on his life

Desmond Mpilo Tutu was born on the 7th of October in 1931, in Klerksdorp, a city in South Africa. As an adult, he trained as a teacher. In the year 1960, he was made an Anglican priest, and he moved to the United Kingdom in 1962 to study theology at King’s College, London. Theology is the study of the nature of God and religious beliefs.

He returned to Africa in 1966 and taught at the Federal Theological Seminary in South Africa for a time, before teaching in the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. In southern Africa in 1975, he first became a dean (a person holding certain positions of authority in a church) at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg. Later, he also served as Bishop of Lesotho.


He was one of the most prominent fighters against South Africa’s apartheid system. He cautioned the National Party government that if they showed anger at apartheid, it would lead to a more violent form of racial discrimination. As an anti-apartheid activist, he believed in the non-violent approach, as well as approaching foreign economies to put pressure on the whites for the end of apartheid and the implementation of universal suffrage, or the right of all adult citizens to vote, regardless of gender, economic status, colour, religion etc.

Getting the Nobel Prize

For his work against apartheid, Desmond Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize in the year 1984, after being nominated for it in the years 1981, 1982, and 1983. He served as Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986, and also as Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1994.

Reverend Desmond Tutu died of cancer at the Oasis Frail Care Centre in Cape Town on the 26th of December 2021, at the age of ninety. His funeral service was conducted six days later, on the 1st of January 2022.

Nelson Mandela once famously quoted, “To deny people their rights is to challenge their very humanity.” Reverend Desmond Tutu understood this and fought for equal rights continuously all his life.

Headline Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Desmond_Tutu_(47327456801).jpg
Attribution: John Mathew Smith & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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