Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Did you know?
Desmond Tutu coined the much-used term 'Rainbow Nation'.
The face of humanitarian hero Desmond Tutu is known the world over. This church leader and ambassador continues to diffuse explosive political situations across the globe.
Like so many South African heroes, the archbishop came from humble beginnings.
Born in Klerksdorp on 7 October 1931, Tutu was set on becoming a teacher like his father, but had to abandon his studies when the Bantu Education Act was passed in 1953. He joined the Anglican Church instead, drawing inspiration from a number of clergymen who opposed apartheid.
He married Leah Nomalizo in 1955 and fathered 4 children. He continued his service to the Church, and was duly recognised when he became the first black Anglican Dean of Johannesburg in 1975.
Tutu entered the political arena in 1976, when he spoke out strongly against apartheid in the politically charged months before the Soweto Uprising. He continued his fight against the oppressive regime, being amongst the first to point out that the regime was against the will of God.
His continued efforts to bring an end to apartheid earned the humanitarian icon the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, but did not bring an end to his active involvement in the struggle.
In 1986 the archbishop once again made history when he was elected Archbishop of Cape Town. Following the first democratic elections and the ANC's rise to power in 1994, then President Nelson Mandela appointed Tutu as Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Today the charismatic humanitarian figure continues his fight for justice across the globe. He helped the Kenyan government negotiate and form a coalition government after the 2006 elections, openly lambasted George Bush and Tony Blair for the 'immoral' war in Iraq and continues to keep a critical eye on the Zimbabwean government.