Desmond Tutu (1931-)

Desmond Tutu (1931-) is a South African Anglican cleric and social rights activist. In the early 1950s, although he dreamed of becoming a doctor, his financial situation forced him to follow his father’s steps and become a teacher. Yet in 1953, following the Bantu Education Act, a law that made it legal to establish racially separated education facilities, Desmond Tutu resigned as a protest. He then started studying theology, was ordained priest in 1960 and left the early 1960 to received a Master’s degree at King’s College London.  By the end of the 1960’s Tutu was back in Africa, giving lectures that denounced the situation of his country. Indeed, he became the spokesperson for the rights of Black South Africans during the apartheid.  He strongly opposed to Reagan’s  “constructive engagement” doctrine to South Africa, and asked the world’s leaders not to invest in his country as long as the apartheid regime existed. In 1984, he was awarded with the Peace Noble Prize. Ten years later after the fall of apartheid, he headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – the legal body responsible to restore justice in South Africa. Nelson Mandela once said “sometimes strident, often tender, never afraid and seldom without humour, Desmond Tutu’s voice will always be the voice of the voiceless”. You can hear one of his inspiring videos here!

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