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Meet Desmond Tutu, Africa?s Great Achiever

Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu

The African achievers Awards was instituted in 2011 with the vision of celebrating African achievers and that dream is still been lived.

Akpah Prince is a young African aspiring to walk in the shoes of African achievers therefore has developed the attitude to read more about them. His hope and assurance has always has been ?if these people have been able to make it in Africa, then I can do same?.
There will be a profile of African achievers every week to share their idea from the African Viewpoint Journal. Read and get back to me on more people you would like to read about.
This week there is one person that unarguably, lives a life that has being celebrated even by the African Achievers Awards as the first recipient in 2011 which fell on his 80th?Birthday Anniversary.
?He is a Noble Prize Laurent, by name Desmond MpiloTutu also known as Desmond Tutu the First Black Archbishop of Cape Town, Anglican Church. He was born on 7th?October, 1931.
This is a man who despite all that Africans have to through in those days displayed courage to fight against apartheid in South Africa. He drove that passion to defend human rights, campaign to fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, poverty, racism, sexism, the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, homophobia and transphobia and rose to become a Noble Prize recipient among others.
Tutu was the second born of three born in a village called Klerksdorp but moved to Johannesburg with his family at the age of twelve.
Although Desmond wanted to become a doctor, financial circumstances couldn?t allow it so he decided to follow in his father?s footstep as a teacher. He studied at the Pretoria Bantu Normal College from 1951 to 1953 after which he practiced as a teacher in Johannesburg Bantu and Munsienville High Schools.
?In 1960, he studied Theology in St Peter’s Theology College in Rosettenville where he was ordained an Anglican priest at age 29 following the footsteps of his mentor and fellow activist, Trevor Huddleston.
Tutu schooled in King’s College London, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theology. He later returned to South Africa and from 1967 until 1972 used his lectures to highlight the circumstances of the African population. From 1970 to 1972, Tutu lectured at the National University of Lesotho.
In 1972, Tutu returned to UK, where he was appointed vice-director of the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches, at Bromley in Kent. He returned to South Africa in 1975 and was appointed Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg and here again the first black to hold that position.
In 1976, Tutu used the situation of protests in Soweto, also known as the Soweto Riots to support an economic boycott of his country which at all round benefited the country?s economy causing the value of the Rand to plunge more than 35 percent.
As Bishop of Lesotho and Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches, he was also able to continue his work against apartheid with agreement from nearly all churches.
To support a new constitution proposed for South Africa in 1983 to defend against the anti-apartheid movement, he helped form the National Forum Committee to fight the constitutional changes.
In 1990, Tutu and the ex-Vice Chancellor of the University of the Western Cape Professor Jakes Gerwel founded the Desmond Tutu Educational Trust.
Since his retirement at age 79, Tutu has worked as a global activist on issues pertaining to democracy, freedom and human rights. He is the patron of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, the successor organisation of the South African Trust and Reconciliation Commission. As well as presenting the annual South African Reconciliation Award.
In 2006, Tutu launched a global campaign, organised by Plan, to ensure that all children are registered at birth, as an unregistered child did not officially exist and was vulnerable to traffickers and during disasters.
Tutu is widely regarded as “South Africa’s moral conscience and has been described by former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela as ?sometimes strident, often tender, never afraid and seldom without humour, Desmond Tutu’s voice will always be the voice of the voiceless?.
Since his retirement, Tutu has worked to critique the new South African government. He has been vocal in condemnation of corruption, the ineffectiveness of the ANC-led government to deal with poverty, and the recent outbreaks of xenophobic violence in some townships in South Africa.
Tutu served as Chair of The Elders from the founding of the group in July 2007 to May 2013. The Elders work globally, on thematic as well as geographically specific subjects. Their priority issue areas include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Korean Peninsula, Sudan and South Sudan, sustainable development, and equality for girls and women.
Desmond Tutu does not only focus on South Africa but as a global figure advocacy towards democracy in Africa. Tutu has often stated that all leaders in Africa should condemn Zimbabwe.
In order diplomatic assignments, he has worked closely on projects involving, Solomon Islands, Israel and Palestine, Global March to Jerusalem, Palestinian Christians, China, Tibet, and.
In 2003, Tutu was elected to the board of directors of the International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims. He was named a member of the UN advisory panel on genocide prevention and was appointed as the UN Lead for an investigation into the Israeli bombings in 2006.
He has campaigned against HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis and that?s why Tutu’s supporters consider him a tireless campaigner for health and human rights. He is Patron of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, a registered Section 21 non-profit organisation and has served as the honorary chairman for the Global AIDS Alliance and is a patron of TB Alert, a UK charity working internationally.
In 2003 the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre was founded in Cape Town, while the Desmond Tutu TB Centre was founded in 2003 at Stellenbosch University.
In the debate about Anglican views of homosexuality, Tutu has opposed traditional Christian disapproval of homosexuality.
On the 16th?of October 1984, the then Bishop Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee cited his “role as a?unifying leader?figure in the campaign to resolve the problem of apartheid in South Africa”.
He? has since then received countless awards including the Pacem in Terris Award, Albert Schweitzer Prize, Gandhi Peace Prize, the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award, the J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding, Spiritual Leadership Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom from US President Barack Obama, ?1.1m ($1.6m) Templeton Prize.
In June 1999, Tutu was invited to give the annual Wilberforce Lecture in Kingston upon Hull, commemorating the life and achievements of the anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce.
Desmond Tutu has also received Honorary Degrees and Fellowships from Countless distinguished institution including the King’s College London, University of Fribourg, and Sidney Sussex College in the University of Cambridge, University Philosophical Society, Trinity College, University of Edinburgh, Bangor University, University of Vienna and University of Stellenbosch.
In 1996 Tutu was the first recipient of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Award for Outstanding Service to the Anglican Communion. A new award that was created specially for him, and was designated the highest possible award within the Anglican Communion, standing in precedence ahead of the previous highest award, the Cross of St Augustine, gold division.
Freedom of the city awards have been conferred on Tutu in cities in Italy, Wales, England and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has received numerous doctorates and fellowships at distinguished universities.
He has been named a Grand Officer of the L?giond’honneur by France. Germany has awarded him the Order of Merit Grand Cross and he received the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999.
He is also the recipient of the Gandhi Peace Prize, the King Hussein Prize and the Marion Doenhoff Prize for International Reconciliation and Understanding. On his visit to Illinois, Tutu was awarded the Lincoln Leadership Prize and unveiled his portrait which will be displayed at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield.
Tutu again received the Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan in recognition of his lifelong work in defence of human rights and dignity.
The Archbishop was named an Honorary Chairman of Building?Tomorrow’s?board of directors. Building?tomorrow?engages young people in their mission to build schools for underserved children and communities in Uganda.
Tutu said, “I believe that education is the key to unlocking the door that will eradicate poverty and that young people have the power to make it happen?.
Tutu has also gained a lot of media attention which has given him the opportunity to be featured in various documentaries, short films and news features on both African and international media houses and serves in that capacity as a media consultant on human right issues.
Tutu at the World Economic Forum 2009
With lots of controversies that our grandfather has to go through, he puts them in a hidden safe from Africans as to what is referred as books. He is also an author whose writing has also earned him lots of laurels globally as well.
They include,?Made for Goodness, Crying in the Wilderness, Hope and Suffering, The Words of Desmond Tutu, The Rainbow People of God: The Making of a Peaceful Revolution, Worshipping Church in Africa, The Essential Desmond Tutu, No Future without Forgiveness, An African Prayer book, God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time, Doubleday,?as well as co authoring books with Sue Williamson, John Allen, Vaclav Havel and Aung San Suu Kyi? and a lot of other influential personalities across the world for over 3 decades.
A British children’s author, Nick Butterworth, dedicated his book?The Whisperer?to Tutu. One of the people that inspired him when he was young was Trevor Huddleston, who was a parish priest in the black slum of Sophiatown.
Tutu said, “I was standing in the street with my mother when a white man in a priest’s clothing walked past. As he passed us, he took off his hat to my mother. I couldn’t believe my eyes?a white man who greeted a black working class woman.
On 2nd July 1955, Tutu married Nomalizo Leah Shenxane, a teacher whom he had met while at college. They had four children: Trevor ThamsanqaTutu, Theresa ThandekaTutu, Naomi NontombiTutu and Mpho Andrea Tutu.
Naomi Tutu founded the Tutu Foundation for Development and Relief in Southern Africa, based in Hartford, Connecticut. She attended the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky and has followed in her father’s footsteps as a human rights activist.
She is currently a graduate student at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, in Nashville, Tennessee. Desmond Tutu’s other daughter, MphoTutu, has also followed her father’s footsteps and in 2004 she was ordained an Episcopal priest by her father.
She is also the founder and executive director of the Tutu Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage and the chairperson of the board of the Global AIDS Alliance.
One can deduce from Desmond Tutu achievement by saying, ?Hard work breaks no Bones?
In 2011, he also became the first recipient of what has been known as the highest honour on the African Soil, the African Achievers Awards.
Thank You.
Akpah Pirnce
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