the Nobel Peace Prize who fought against apartheid

Here’s a look at the life of Archbishop Desmond TutuNobel Peace Prize winner.

Personal information

Date of Birth: October 7, 1931

Place of birth: Klerksdorp, Transvaal, South Africa

Birth name: Desmond Mpilo Tutu

Dad: Zachariah Tutu, school teacher

Mother: Aletta Tutu, domestic worker

Marriage: Nomalizo Leah (Shenxane) Tutu (July 2, 1955-present)

Sons: Trevor, Theresa, Naomi and Mpho

Education: Bantu Normal Teacher’s College, Pretoria, 1953, South Africa; University of South Africa, Johannesburg, BA, 1954; St. Peter’s Theological College, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1960

Religion: anglican

Other data

Sometimes called “the Arch”, diminutive of archbishop in English.

He chaired the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.


1954-1957 – Teaches at school and resigns in protest of government restrictions on the education of black children.

1961 – He is ordained an Anglican priest.

1975 – He becomes the first black Anglican-appointed dean of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg.

1976 – He is consecrated Bishop of Lesotho.

1978 – He becomes the first black general secretary of the interdenominational Council of Churches in South Africa.

1984 – He becomes the second South African, after chief Albert Lutuli, to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end apartheid.

1986 – He is elected Archbishop of Cape Town, becoming the leader of the Anglican Church in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho.

nineteen ninety five – He is selected by South African President Nelson Mandela to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

nineteen ninety six – He retires as Archbishop of Cape Town and becomes Archbishop Emeritus.

1997 – He is diagnosed with prostate cancer and treated in hospitals in the United States.

1998 – Establishes the Desmond Tutu Peace Trust.

1998-2000 – Visiting Professor of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta.

2002 – Visiting professor at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

March 2003 – Presents the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to South African President Thabo Mbeki.

July 18, 2007 – Former President Mandela announces the formation of The Elders, a group of old statesmen from around the world who will work to solve global problems. Members of the group include Tutu, former US President Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson and Ela Bhatt.

September 30, 2007 – Tutu leads The Elders on their first mission, to Darfur in Sudan.

July 30, 2009 – Receives the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom from United States President Barack Obama.

October 2011 – Tutu harshly criticizes the South African government for not issuing a visa to the Dalai Lama. He accuses the government of pandering to China and somehow being worse than apartheid-era governments.

October 3, 2011 – “Tutu: The Authorized Portrait” is published to coincide with Tutu’s 80th birthday. The book, written by his daughter Mpho and Allister Sparks, contains personal writings and anecdotes from the likes of Richard Branson, Bono, the Dalai Lama, Mandela and others.

September 2, 2012 – In an opinion piece published by The Observer newspaper, Tutu says that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President George W. Bush should be “held to account” at the International Criminal Court for their actions during the Iraq war.

October 4, 2012 – Tutu receives US$ 1 million from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation for “his lifelong commitment to speaking truth to power.”

December 3, 2012: a children’s book called “Desmond and the Very Mean Word” is published.

2013 – It sets the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation in Cape Town.

April 4, 2013 – Tutu is awarded the 2013 Templeton Prize for her “lifetime work in advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness, which has helped free people around the world.” The prize is worth approximately US$1.7 million.

September 7, 2016: Tutu undergoes surgery to treat recurring infections that affect his health.

September 17-21, 2016: Tutu is readmitted to a South African hospital after showing signs of infection following his recent surgery.

October 6, 2016 – The day before his 85th birthday, he writes an op-ed for The Washington Post supporting the right to die with dignity. “Dying people should have the right to choose how and when to leave Mother Earth. I think along with the wonderful palliative care out there, your options should include dignified assisted dying.”

December 4, 2019: Tutu has been admitted to hospital for “treatment of a persistent infection,” according to a statement issued by the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. On December 9, the foundation says Tutu was released from the hospital.

September 9, 2020: Tutu and his wife escape unharmed from a fire at their cabin outside Cape Town, according to a statement from the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation.

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