The DocumentaryMeet Archbishop Desmond TutuMeet Dr. John Hope FranklinMeet the StudentsExplore the IslandThe DialoguesYour TurnFor TeachersTV ScheduleFeedbackOrder the VideoSite MapCredits

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Bio

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is archbishop emeritus of the Diocese of Cape Town in South Africa and until recently was the Robert W. Woodruff Visiting Professor of Theology at Emory University in Georgia. He is the recipient of many honors and degrees throughout the world, including the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize. He chaired his nation's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and was president of the All Africa Conference of Churches for ten years.

Tutu shakes hands with a child

Archbishop Tutu was born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, Transvaal. His father was a teacher, and he himself was educated at Johannesburg Bantu High School. After leaving school he trained first as a teacher at Pretoria Bantu Normal College and in 1954 he graduated from the University of South Africa. After three years as a high school teacher he began to study theology, being ordained as a priest in 1960. The years 1962-66 were devoted to further theological study in England leading up to a Master of Theology. From 1967 to 1972 he taught theology in South Africa before returning to England for three years as the assistant director of a theological institute in London. In 1975 he was appointed Dean of St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg, the first black to hold that position. From 1976 to 1978 he was Bishop of Lesotho, and in 1978 became the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches.

Archbishop Tutu's publications include: Crying in the Wilderness, Hope and Suffering: Sermons and Speeches, The Rainbow People of God, The Essential Desmond Tutu, and most recently, No Future Without Forgiveness.

Currently, Archbishop Tutu resides in Cape Town, South Africa with his wife Leah.

Back to the Meet Tutu page

Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS