Desmond Tutu Quick Facts – Local News 8


CNN Editorial Research

Here is a glimpse into the life of Nobel Prize of Peace winner Bishop Desmond Tutu.


Date of Birth: October 7, 1931

Place of birth: Klerksdorp, Transvaal, South Africa

Birth name: Desmond Mpilo Tutu

Father: Zachariah Tutu, teacher

Mother: Aletta Tutu, housekeeper

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

Children: 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 facts

Sometimes called “the Ark”.

Chaired the Post-Apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.


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

1961 Is ordained an Anglican priest.

1975 Becomes the first named black Anglican dean of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg.

1976 Consecrated Bishop of Lesotho.

1978 – Becomes the first black general secretary of the Interfaith Council of South African Churches.

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

1986 – Elected Archbishop of Cape Town, becoming head of the Anglican Church in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho.

1995 Is selected by South African President Nelson Mandela chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

1996 – Retires as Archbishop of Cape Town and becomes Archbishop Emeritus.

1997 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 the 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 older statesmen from around the world who will work to solve global problems. Among the members of the group is 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 is awarded on Presidential Medal of Freedom 2009 through US President Barack Obama.

October 2011 – Tutu harshly criticizes the South African government for failing to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama. He accuses the government of bowing to China and of being in some ways worse than the governments of the apartheid era.

October 3, 2011 “Tutu: the authorized portrait” is published to coincide with that of Tutu 80th anniversary. The book, written by his daughter Mpho and Allister Sparks, contains personal writings as well as anecdotes from people including Richard Branson, Bono, the Dalai Lama, Mandela and others.

September 2, 2012 In a editorial published by The Observer newspaper, Tutu says the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and old US President George W. Bush should be “answered” to the International Penal Court for their actions during the Iraq war.

October 4, 2012 Tutu is awarded $ 1 million by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation for “his lifelong commitment to speaking the truth to power”.

December 3, 2012 A children’s book titled “Desmond and the Very Wicked Word” is published.

2013 – Creation of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation in Cape Town.

April 4, 2013 – Tutu receives the 2013 Templeton Prize for his “A lifelong job to advance spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness that have helped liberate people around the world. “ The prize is worth around $ 1.7 million.

September 7, 2016 – Tutu undergoes surgery to treat recurring infections affecting his health.

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

October 6, 2016 – The day before his 85th birthday, he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post supporting the right to die with dignity. “The dying should have the right to choose how and when they leave Mother Earth. I believe that in addition to the wonderful palliative care that exists, their choices should include a dignified assisted death.

December 4, 2019 – Tutu was admitted to hospital for “treating a stubborn infection,” according to a statement released by the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. On December 9, the foundation announced that Tutu had left the hospital.

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

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