In Memoriam: Desmond Mpilo Tutu, 1931-2021

Desmond Tutu, the Anglican archbishop who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his efforts to dismantle apartheid in South Africa, died in Cape Town on December 26. He was 90 years old and had suffered from cancer.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, called Tutu “a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.”

The son of a high school teacher, Tutu had considered a career in medicine before deciding to devote his life to the church. He was educated at St. Peter’s Theological College in Johannesburg and King’s College in London. After returning to South African, he taught at the Federal Theological Seminary and the University of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Rev. Tutu was ordained in 1960 and became the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town in 1986.

After Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa, he asked Rev. Tutu to chair the nation’s landmark Truth and Reconciliation Commission which examined the crimes and atrocities of the apartheid era.

Rev. Tutu was awarded dozens of honorary doctorates from universities around the world including, Harvard, Columbia, Howard, Yale, Oxford, and Cambridge to name a few. In 2009, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama.

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