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Thursday, September 12, 2024

Respect Your Elders: Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu (born October 7, 1931) is this week’s #RespectYourElders feature. 

Desmond Tutu originally rose to prominence in the 1980s as the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and a staunch opponent of apartheid in South Africa. Since then he has been involved in political and social activism, as well as humanitarian campaigns across the globe.

Tutu was born the second oldest child of four to a working class family, living in Johannesburg, South Africa for much of his childhood. He originally wanted to become a doctor but decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and became a teacher. After a brief time working as a teacher, he decided to study theology and eventually became an ordained Anglican priest. Using his growing presence within South African churches, Tutu began to strongly protest apartheid beginning in the late 1970s. He called for reconciliation between opposing groups and for non-violent solutions to resolve conflict and end apartheid.

Since the end of apartheid, Desmond Tutu has worked as an activist for democracy, freedom, and human rights. He has worked to alleviate global poverty, AIDS, and disenfranchisement in the developing world.

For his efforts, Desmond Tutu has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, the Gandhi Peace Prize, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

Desmond _Tutu _2013-10-23_001

Photos by:

Libris Förlag (mynewsdesk) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Common.

Elke Wetzig (Elya) (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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