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Desmond Tutu Biography

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Desmond Tutu Bio
Desmond Tutu Biography

Desmond Mpilo Tutu was born in Klerksdorp, Transvaal (South Africa) on October 7, 1931. His parents were of Zacheriah Zililo Tutu and his wife, Aletta. Tutu was the middle child of three children, and has two sisters.
When he was twelve, Tutu’s family moved to Johannesburg (South Africa’s largest city, but not its capital). His father was a teacher and his mother a cleaner and cook at a school for the blind. They lived in Sophiatown, a poor section of the city

Tutu’s ambition was to be a physician, but being unable to afford it, he became a teacher instead. He attended the Pretoria Bantu Normal College from 1951 to 1953. Afterwards, he taught at Johannesburg Bantu High School and at Munsienville High School in Mogale City.

Tutu married Nomalizo Leah Shenxane on July 2, 1955, a fellow teacher. They would go on to have four children: Trevor Thamsanqa Tutu, Theresa Thandeka Tutu, Naomi Nontombi Tutu and Mpho Andrea Tutu. All Tutu’s children went to the Waterford Kamhlaba School in Swaziland.

Tutu continued his studies, this time in religion, at St Peter's Theology College in Rosettenville, Johannesburg. In 1960, he was ordained as an Anglican priest. He then traveled to England to attend King's College London from 1962 to 1966, earning his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Theology. While there, he worked part-time as a curate in several English churches.
Tutu returned to South Africa and lived there from 1967 until 1972, giving lectures to draw attention to the plight of the African majority in the white-ruled country.
From 1972 to 1975, Tutu was back in England, serving as vice-director of the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches, located in Bromley, Kent. In 1975 he returned to Johannesburg, to become the Anglican Dean of St. Mary's Cathedral. He was the first black African to hold that position.

He was Bishop of Lesotho from 1976 until 1978, when he became Secretary-general of the South African Council of Churches. From these positions, from 1972, he worked against apartheid (South African’s form of government in which blacks and whites were separated). Indeed, he was jailed – briefly- in 1980 after a protest march.

In 1990, Tutu founded the Desmond Tutu Educational Trust, with Professor Jakes Gerwel.
In 1994, elections were held that defeated apartheid, along with the white-ruled government, to be replaced by the African National Congress (ANC) under Nelson Mandela.
Since that time, Tutu has received a host of honors and awards.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986, the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2005 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

He has not rested on his laurels, however. He continues to speak out against oppression wherever he finds it, from the abuses of power in Zimbabwe (the former Rhodesia), China’s treatment of Tibet, Israel’s treatment of the individuals in the Gaza Strip, and so on.

There are seven books of Tutu’s collected sermons, as well as over a dozen books written by Tutu (with the help of other authors)

See also: Desmond Tutu Bio, Desmond Tutu Quotes, Religious Leaders, Famous Activists, Famous Authors, Famous South Africans, Famous Black People, Famous Librans
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