Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu is best known for his work to end decades of European racial supremacy in South African politics and create electoral democracy. Because all previous Cape Town Anglican archbishops were European, Tutu was the first South African to be appointed to the post and the primacy of the Anglican Church of South Africa.
Following the retirement of formal apartheid, Tutu led the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission which granted amnesty from prosecution to anyone who confessed crimes to maintain or fight the Whitesupremacist regime. But it was his early struggles for justice that won him, in 1984, the Nobel Peace Prize.
Tutu continues to speak for peace and justice, including about ecological devastation in Alberta’s tar sands, the occupation of Palestine, and the international campaign to cure HIV/AIDS and help all afflicted by the disease. He’s the author or co-author of nine books, including No Future without Forgiveness, God is Not a Christian, and God Has a Dream.
Tutu and his wife Leah founded the non-profit Desmond Tutu Peace Centre, which works to create “a society that nurtures tolerance and understanding amongst all people and is guided by … the building blocks for sustainable peace: Love, Hope, Tolerance, and Courage.”
He spoke in Edmonton at the Jubilee Auditorium for the first annual University of Alberta Visiting Lectureship in Human Rights on November 29, 1998. He discussed the horrors of apartheid, the racial divide in US culture, the link between racism and homophobia + sexism, and the power of youth to change the world.
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A warning: the beginning of Tutu’s comments includes a disturbing description of police torture and murder during apartheid.
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