Desmond Tutu

Fight Against Apartheid - Biography Project

Life and Accomplishments

Born October 7, 1931 [- (Present)] in Klerksdorp, Transvaal Republic. Tutu received a teacher's diploma and a bachelor's degree, and later taught for several years before studying theology and eventually becoming a priest in 1961. Tutu's priesthood brought him to London to serve in parishes, and later to England to work with the Work Council of Churches in 1972.


In return to South Africa, Tutu served as the first black Secretary General of the SACC, beginning his work in the anti-apartheid movement. Spokesperson for the ant-apartheid movement, Tutu was given the Nobel Peace Prize. Later named as the archbishop of South Africa and head of the Anglican Church. Through his work, Nelson Mandela appointed Tutu as head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1995, an organization created in hopes of bringing healing to oppressed South Africans and help unite the nation.

(WorldHistory:TheModernEra)

Significance to Anti-Apartheid Movement

Entering the final stretch of the apartheid, within South Africa, during the 70s and 80s, Desmond Tutu used his abilities as a priest to speak against the government. With other anti-apartheid leaders imprisoned, Tutu's position and support gave him the one factor that all other leaders lacked in their efforts. Tutu didn't face as much resistance by the government as previous leaders, but he was able to use his words to help bring an end to the apartheid. Tutu was the chief spokesperson for anti-apartheid towards the end of the apartheid rule, and his contribution to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) helped many South Africans recover. (WorldHistory:TheModernEra) (WorldGeography:UnderstandingaChangingWorld)

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor" - Desmond Tutu

Excerpts from "Desmond Tutu: speech on the question of South Africa (1984)"

"I speak out of a full heart, for I am about to speak about a land that I love deeply and passionately; a beautiful land of rolling hills and gurgling streams, of clear starlit skies, of singing birds, and gamboling lambs; a land God has richly endowed with the good things of the earth, a land rich in mineral deposits of nearly every kind; a land of vast open spaces, enough to accommodate all its inhabitants comfortably; a land capable of feeding itself and other lands on the beleaguered continent of Africa, a veritable breadbasket; a land that could contribute wonderfully to the material and spiritual development and prosperity of all Africa and indeed of the whole world. It is endowed with enough to satisfy the material and spiritual needs of all its peoples" (1.2)


"The tragedy of South Africa is that something with such a Considerable potential for resolving the burgeoning crisis of our land should have been vitiated by the exclusion of 73 percent of the population, the Overwhelming majority in the land" (1.10)


"The fact that the first qualification for membership in the chambers is racial says that this constitution was designed to entrench racism and ethnicity. The most obnoxious features of apartheid would remain untouched and unchanged" (1.11)


"But there is little freedom in this land of plenty. There is little freedom to disagree with the determinations of the authorities. There is large-scale unemployment because of the drought and the recession that has hit most of the world's economy. And it is at such a time that the authorities have increased the prices of various foodstuffs and also of rents in black townships—measures designed to hit hardest those least able to afford the additional costs. It is not surprising that all this has exacerbated an already tense and volatile situation" (1.14)


"White South Africans are not demons; they are ordinary human beings, scared human beings, many of them; who would not be, if they were outnumbered five to one? Through this lofty body I wish to appeal to my white fellow South Africans to share in building a new society, for blacks are not intent on driving whites into the sea but on claiming only their rightful place in the sun in the land of their birth" (1.19)


"I say we will be free, and we ask you: Help us, that this freedom comes for all of us in South Africa, black and white, but that it comes with the least possible violence, that it comes peacefully, that it comes soon" (1.23)

(WorldHistory:TheModernEra)

References

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Nichols, Terri. "Truth and Reconciliation Commission." World Geography: Understanding a

Changing World. ABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

Tutu, Desmond. "Desmond Tutu: Why Is It Important to Learn about the Genocides of All

Peoples?." World Geography: Understanding a Changing World. ABC-CLIO, 2015.

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"Desmond Tutu and Thabo Mbeki embrace." Photos/Illustrations. AFP/Getty Images. World

Geography: Understanding a Changing World. ABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

"Desmond Tutu." Photos/Illustrations. AFP/Getty Images. World Geography: Understanding a

Changing World.ABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

"Desmond Tutu: quote on apartheid." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.

South Africa Showme.co.za. Desmond Tutu TRC (1996). Digital image. Show Me. N.p., 2008. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.