Key Dates In Late Bishop Desmond Tutu’s Life As Funeral Holds

Here are key dates in the life of South Africa's Desmond Mpilo Tutu, a leading figure in the anti-apartheid struggle and international defender of human rights and peace.


In this file photo taken on April 23, 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu gestures during a press conference about the first 20 years of freedom in South Africa at St Georges Cathedral in Cape Town . South African anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu, described as the country’s moral compass, died on December 26, 2021, aged 90, President Cyril Ramaphosa said. Jennifer BRUCE / AFP
In this file photo taken on April 23, 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu gestures during a press conference about the first 20 years of freedom in South Africa at St Georges Cathedral in Cape Town. Jennifer BRUCE / AFP

 

Here are key dates in the life of South Africa’s Desmond Mpilo Tutu, a leading figure in the anti-apartheid struggle and international defender of human rights and peace.

Tutu died on Boxing Day at age 90.

– October 7, 1931: He is born in the small town of Klerksdorp, west of Johannesburg, his mother a domestic worker and his father a teacher.

– 1961: Is ordained as an Anglican priest, having studied theology after working as a school teacher.

– 1976: He is appointed the bishop of neighbouring Lesotho.

– 1978: Becomes the first black secretary-general of the South African Council of Churches, a highly influential grouping with 15 million members that is active in the struggle against apartheid.

People and members of the clergy gather near the hearse carrying the casket of South African anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town on January 1, 2022, after the requiem mass.  MIKE HUTCHINGS / POOL / AFP

 

– 1984: Is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to South Africa’s apartheid regime. The same year he becomes the first black bishop of Johannesburg and calls for an embargo against the white-minority regime.

– 1986: He is ordained as the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and head of the Anglican Church for Southern Africa, covering two million followers.

– 1996: Two years after the end of apartheid, he heads the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that begins hearings into atrocities committed under the previous regime.

– 1997: Diagnosed with prostate cancer and undergoes repeated treatment over the following years.

– 2007: Helps to found The Elders group of global leaders working for peace and human rights, acting as its chairman until 2013.

 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (L) hands over the South African national flag to Leah Tutu, widow of South African anti-Apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu, during the requiem mass of Tutu at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town on January 1, 2022.  AFP

 

– 2010: Aged 79, he announces his retirement from public life.

– 2013: He declares he will no longer be voting for the African National Congress, South Africa’s long-ruling party, citing inequality, violence and corruption among other reasons.

– 2016: Joined advocates calling for the right to assisted dying.

– 2021: Tutu makes a rare public appearance to receive his Covid-19 vaccine. He emerges from the hospital in a wheelchair, and waves but does not speak.

– 2022: Tutu’s remains to be buried in historic St George’s Cathedral where he preached for 10 years.

AFP