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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid