News / Africa

Desmond Tutu Retires From Public Life

Thursday is a milestone for South African anti-apartheid advocate Desmond Tutu. The Nobel Peace laureate turns 79 and is retiring from public life. Tutu is one of South Africa's most beloved figures who frequently spoke out on social and political issues. Now he says, he wants a peaceful life and to spend more time with his family in Cape Town.

Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu fought apartheid in South Africa, and was critical of the war in Iraq.

"We waged a war that shouldn't have happened," he said.

He also spoke out against genocide in Rwanda.  

"God have mercy on us," he said.

The retired Anglican archbishop announced in July that he would retire from public life on his birthday.

"The time has come to slow down, and sip maybe rooibos tea with my beloved wife in the afternoons" he said.

Tutu rose through the ranks of the Anglican church in South Africa to become the first black Anglican archbishop of Capetown.  

He was a vocal critic of South Africa's white-ruled government and encouraged non-violence to end apartheid.  

Tutu was the recipient of many awards, and in 1984, he received a Nobel Peace Prize for advocating "a democratic and just society without racial divisions."  He used the recognition to step up the anti-apartheid campaign, calling for an economic boycott against South Africa.

After the end of apartheid, Tutu called it an incredible day when Nelson Mandela won South Africa's first all-race elections.

"I would say the highest point for me was when I stood on the balcony in 1994 to introduce our new, brand new president to South Africa and the world," he said.

To help mend the nation, President Mandela appointed Tutu as head of the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The group issued a report that included numerous confessions of guilt under apartheid in return for amnesty.  

"It makes specific proposals on how we can cultivate a culture of human rights and of structures to insure that the atrocities of the past will not reoccur," Tutu said.

Tutu also campaigned to fight poverty and AIDS.  In recent years, he expressed his disappointment in post-apartheid South Africa, especially the level of violent crime.

Despite his withdrawal from public life, Tutu says he will continue to support his peace foundation and will remain part of a group of elder statesmen who campaign for peace and human rights.  

But Tutu says he will no longer give interviews and, as he put it, will mostly "shut up."  

"I have been part of our struggle for freedom and democracy, and I am part of the celebration that we did succeed," he said.  "I have been part of the post apartheid dispensation and long for us to do infinitely better."

Many say his voice will be missed.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs