Born in 1931, Desmond Tutu taught until 1957 when he trained for the Anglican ministry. He took an MA in theology in the UK in 1966, and on his return to South Africa became a lecturer in theology at Lesotho University.
He was appointed Dean of Johannesburg in 1975 and Bishop of Lesotho (1976 – 1978) before returning to Johannesburg as the general secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC).
An increasingly vociferous critic of the South African government, Tutu was arrested in 1979 for organizing a march in protest against the detention of other churchmen. In 1981 his passport was confiscated on return from a well-publicised tour of the US and Europe meeting politicians and religious leaders.
He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his constant advocacy of non-violent change in South Africa.
Created the first black Bishop of Johannesburg in 1985, he continued to press international leaders for tough sanctions against the South African government but was no less outspoken in condemning black-against-black violence.
He was Archbishop of Cape Town and the titular head of the Anglican church in South Africa from 1986 to 1996, and an implacable advocate of non-violent protest.
Few will forget Tutu’s public joy when the first democratic elections were held in South Africa in 1994, but he did not hold back from criticism of the Mandela government when he felt it necessary.
Desmond Tutu died on 26 December 2021, aged 90.