Remembering Desmond Tutu

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Anti-apartheid icon, Desmond Tutu, passed away at the age of 90. We remember his legacy.

  • Desmond Tutu was born in 1931 to a mother who worked as a maid and a father who was a teacher. He saw racial discrimination from an early age.
  • Tutu was ordained as a minister of the Anglican Church in 1960 and studied theology at King’s College in London in 1962. He eventually became the first Black archbishop of South Africa.
  • In 1984, Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize for being a unifying leader figure in the campaign to resolve the problem of apartheid in South Africa.
  • “All we are asking you to do is to recognise that we are humans, too.” This statement of Tutu neatly encapsulated the anti-apartheid struggle.
  • Tutu practiced non-violent methods and this made him a reviled figure among the proponents of armed struggle who believe violent means could over throw apartheid.
  • Tutu and Nelson Mandela had mutual admiration. Tutu hosted Mandela after he was released from prison. Mandela made Tutu the chairman of “Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”
  • In 1994 when the first free elections were held in South Africa, Tutu voted for Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC), a party he later stayed away from due to Jacob Zuma’s corruption.
  • Tutu was also a strong proponent of LGBTQ rights decades before it had become a mainstream conversation.
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