Desmond Mpilo Tutu was born on this day in 1931. The South African Anglican cleric and theologian is known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist. Briefly.co.za gathered a few interesting facts on his special day.
1. Early childhood
Tutu was born of mixed Xhosa and Motswana heritage to a poor family in Klerksdorp, British Imperial South Africa.
He trained as a teacher and married Nomalizo Leah Tutu. In 1960, he was ordained as an Anglican priest and in 1962 moved to the United Kingdom to study theology at King's College London.
3. Church service
In 1966 he returned to southern Africa, teaching at the Federal Theological Seminary and then the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. In 1972, he became the Theological Education Fund's director for Africa. In 1975, he served first as dean of St Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg and then as Bishop of Lesotho, taking an active role in opposition to South Africa's apartheid system.
From 1978 to 1985 he was general-secretary of the South African Council of Churches. He was the Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then the Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996, in both cases being the first black African to hold the position.
4. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
After the 1994 general election resulted in a coalition government headed by Mandela, he selected Tutu to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses committed by both pro- and anti-apartheid groups.
5. Activism today
Tutu has campaigned for gay rights and spoken out on a wide range of subjects, among them the Israel-Palestine conflict, his opposition to the Iraq War, and his criticism of South African presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. In 2010, he retired from public life.
Tutu recently came out his hibernation to meet the Royal baby Archie during the Duke and Duchess' royal tour of Africa.
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