Desmond Tutu’s rise to influence and power is one which can be described as interesting. Born on 7th October, 1931 to a poor family, Desmond Mpilo Tutu defiled all odds to become one of Africa’s foremost anti-apartheid and human rights activists.
Born with a mixture of the Xhosa and Motswana heritage, he trained as a teacher in his early childhood. His rise to fame began in 1962 when he was ordained as an Anglican priest. This prompted his move to the United Kingdom where he studied Theology at King’s College London.
Following his passion for academia and education, he arrived in South Africa in 1966 and immediately started teaching at the Federal Theological Seminary and then the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.
Known for his activism and fight against the apartheid regimes in his country, he was appointed the Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then the Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996 – in both cases being the first black African to hold the position.
Theologically, he sought to fuse ideas from black theology with African theology; politically, he identifies as a socialist.
A father and grandfather, he has held a number of high-profile positions across the country. He served first as Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg and then as Bishop of Lesotho and general-secretary of the South African Council of Churches.
Apart from serving on Boards of high-profile institutions, he has received several awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize. He has also compiled several books of his speeches and sermons.
Face2Face Africa commemorates his birthday with some of his thought provoking speeches.