Biography/Net Worth

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Biography, life story, Death and Burial

Early years

Desmond Mpilo Tutu was born in Klerksdorp, Northwest South Africa, on October 7, 1931, and passed away in Cape Town on December 26, 2021. He was a South African Anglican priest who, in 1984, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work of opposing apartheid in that country.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Biography, life story, Death and Burial

Allen Dorothea Mavoertsek Mathlare, his mother, was born in Boksburg to a Motswana family. His father, Zachariah Zelilo Tutu, grew up in Gcuwa, Eastern Cape, and was a member of the amaFengu branch of the Xhosa language.

Tutu’s older sister Sylvia Funeka gave him the nickname “Mpilo,” which means life. The name was also given to him by his paternal grandmother.


Death of his older brother

His parents had lost their first son, Sipho, when he was just a baby, therefore he was their second son. After him, Gloria Lindiwe was born. Tutu was ill from infancy, and polio caused his right hand to atrophy.

Their first child, Trevor, was born in April 1956. After 16 months, Thandeka, a girl, was born.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Biography, life story, Death and Burial


Tutu was baptised into the Methodist Church in June 1932. They later moved to the African Methodist Episcopal Church before joining the Anglican Church.


Tutu was raised in South African mission schools where his father taught. He was the son of Xhosa and Tswana parents. He was admitted into the University of the Witwatersrand to study Medicine, but his parents were unable to pay the tuition, so he switched to teaching.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Biography, life story, Death and Burial


In 1955, he started dating Nomalizo Leah Shenxane, a friend of Gloria’s, his sister. Shenxane was also pursuing a career as a primary school teacher.

They had a Roman Catholic wedding ceremony at the Church of Mary Queen of Apostles after being legally wed in June 1955 at Krugersdorp Native Commissioner’s Court; Tutu, an Anglican, agreed to the ceremony because Leah is Roman Catholic.

In 1957, he left his position. After enrolling in Johannesburg’s St. Peter’s Theological College, he was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1961. He relocated to London in 1962, and in 1966 he graduated with an M.A. from King’s College London.

He worked as an associate director for the World Council of Churches from 1972 until 1975. He was the first black South African to be Dean of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg, in 1975. Tutu served as the bishop of Lesotho from 1976 to 1978.

Tutu became a strong advocate for the rights of black South Africans after accepting a position as the general secretary of the South African Council of Churches in 1978. He played a unique role in the 1980s, in bringing apartheid’s injustices to the attention of the nation and world.

He stressed peaceful protest methods and urged other nations doing business with South Africa to exert economic pressure. Tutu, receiving the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, was a significant signal to P.W. Botha’s government in South Africa.

At the height of the South African township uprisings in 1985, Bishop Tutu was appointed as Johannesburg’s first Black Anglican.

He claimed that “it saddens us to have to recognize that there is less freedom and personal liberty in most of Africa now than there was during the much-maligned colonial days” in his address as the keynote speaker at the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) in Lomé, Togo, in 1987.

There, he was chosen as the organization’s president, and José Belo was chosen as general-secretary. The two of them collaborated for the following ten years, and in 1986, he was chosen as the nation’s first Black archbishop of Cape Town, becoming the head of the country’s 1.6 million-strong Anglican church.

In Bellville, South Africa, Tutu accepted a job as chancellor of the University of the Western Cape in 1988.

Tutu promoted the idea of South Africa as “the Rainbow Nation” during the country’s transition to democracy in the early 1990s, and he continued to make trenchant and humorous observations about current affairs.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Biography, life story, Death and Burial

Tutu was named the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which looked into claims of violations of human rights during the apartheid era, by South African President Nelson Mandela in 1995.

Benny Gool—Oryx Media/Desmond Tutu Peace Center Members of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including Dr. Alex Boraine (second from left), deputy chair; Archbishop Desmond Tutu (center), chair; and Rev. Bongani Finca (right), commissioner, at the commission’s first hearing in April 1996 in East London.

Later years

In 1996, Tutu stepped down as primate and was named archbishop emeritus. In June 1996, a goodbye ceremony was held at St. George’s Cathedral, and prominent figures including Mandela and de Klerk were there.

Tutu received the Order for Meritorious Service, South Africa’s highest honor, from Mandela there. Ndungane succeeded Tutu as archbishop. Tutu received a prostate cancer diagnosis in January 1997 and left the country for treatment.

He made his diagnosis public in an effort to persuade other guys to get their prostates checked. In 1999 and 2006, the sickness returned to him.

Leaving public life behind

He declared in July 2010 that he will formally leave public life in October, while he promised to keep working with the Elders, a group of world leaders he cofounded in 2007 to advance conflict mediation and problem solutions globally. He began his retirement on October 7, 2010, the day after his 79th birthday.

Tutu remained interested with social problems. He first expressed support for legalized assisted dying in July 2014 and later said he would prefer to have that option available to him. Mpho Tutu, Tutu’s daughter, wed in the Netherlands in December 2015. Tutu was present and blessed the event despite Anglican opposition to same-sex marriage.

The Divine Intention, a collection of his lectures, Hope and Suffering, a collection of his sermons, No Future Without Forgiveness, a memoir from his time as the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,

God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time, Made for Goodness: And Why This Makes All the Difference, a collection of personal reflections, and Made for Goodness: And Why This Makes All the Difference (2010) are just a few of the publications Tutu Tutu won other awards in addition to the Nobel Prize,

including the Templeton Prize (2012), the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Award for Lifetime Commitment to “Speaking Truth to Power,” and the American Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009). (2013).

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Biography, life story, Death and Burial

When Did Desmond Tutu Died and At what Age?

In the age of 90, Tutu passed away from cancer at the Oasis Frail Care Center in Cape Town on December 26, 2021.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Funeral Tribute and Sympathy Cards

Queen Elizabeth II wrote in a statement of sorrow that Tutu was “a man who relentlessly championed human rights in South Africa and across the world” and that the Commonwealth, where “he was held in such high respect and esteem,” will feel Tutu’s loss.

He was referred to as a “global soul” in a statement by former US president Barack Obama, who also said that he was “grounded in the struggle for liberation and justice in his own nation, but also concerned with injustice elsewhere.”

Tutu’s influence would “reverberate throughout the ages,” according to President Joe Biden. Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, both former presidents, also issued statements upon his passing.

When you were in areas of the world where there was little Anglican presence and people weren’t sure what the Anglican church was, it was enough to say

“It’s the Church that Desmond Tutu belongs to,” a testament to the international reputation he had and the respect with which he was held, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said in his eulogy.

Funeral for Archbishop Desmond Tutu

It was announced on December 27, 2021, that Tutu’s funeral mass will take place on January 1, 2022, at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town. 100 people are the maximum allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cathedral will sound its bells for ten minutes each day at noon in the days leading up to the burial.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
close button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker!