Desmond Tutu

By Miles Strickler

Life and Accomplishments

Desmond Tutu was the first black African Archbishop of Cape Town and head of the Anglican Church in South Africa. His contributions against apartheid were instrumental to South Africa and the anti-apartheid movement. Tutu was born in Klerksdorp, South Africa in 1931 and he learned early in his life that he would be treated differently from white children due to his skin. He studied to become a teacher at Pretoria Bantu Normal College but with the passing of the Bantu Education Act in 1953, Tutu was unable to effectively teach effectively causing him to quit teaching in 1957. Soon after he began to study to become a priest a year later. Tutu's important contributions to apartheid began in 1975 when he was appointed the Anglican Dean of Johannesburg. He began to use his increased position to advocate his opinions on apartheid, and was anointed the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches three years later in 1978. He brought his influence to the national level when he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. The award brought increased National attention to Tutu and his views against apartheid. In 1987 he was chosen to become the Archbishop of Cape Town, the first time a black African has ever held that position. When apartheid finally ended in 1993 and Nelson Mandela was elected president in 1994, Mandela gave Tutu the head position in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a group that investigated crimes committed during apartheid. Tutu continued to dedicate his life to promote peace in the world and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 from Barack Obama.
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Significance to Anti-Apartheid

Desmond Tutu was able to have an effect on his students as a teacher, but this effect was minimal as black students received much worse education compared to whites. His influence was further capped with the Bantu Education Act, which severely limited education for black Africans, and leading to Tutu quitting. As he studied as a priest he continued to advocate against apartheid, but his opinions didn't carry much weight in the public eye until 1975, when he received the position of Anglican Dean of Johannesburg, where his teachings of non-violence could have a greater effect. He lead peace marches and non-violent demonstrations to combat apartheid. He also called for other countries to stop buying South African goods and services in an attempt to hurt the South African government. He gained national attention when he was given the Nobel Peace Prize for his peaceful efforts in support of the anti-apartheid movement. He used his global influence to pressure the South African Government with continued protests and economic sanctions from other countries. Tutu's contributions to apartheid finally had effect, as apartheid ended and Nelson Mandela became the new South African president, thanks in part to Tutu's hard work and persistence, using his power to promote peace and forgiveness.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Forgiveness

Works Cited

"Desmond Tutu Biography." Academy of Achievement. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

"Desmond Tutu." A&E Networks Television, Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

"Desmond Tutu Condemns Israel's 'Humiliating' Apartheid against Palestinians." International Business Times RSS., 11 Mar. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

"Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Forgiveness." YouTube. YouTube, Web. 15 Nov. 2015.