News / Africa

Tutu, 79, Retires from High-Profile Public Life

Nobel peace prize laureate South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu smiles during a press conference (File Photo)
Nobel peace prize laureate South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu smiles during a press conference (File Photo)

Multimedia

Audio

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has retired from public life to spend more time with his family and on personal pursuits. However, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate will continue some leadership roles.

Archbishop Tutu marked his 79th birthday and his retreat from public life with a party for family and friends on a cruise ship in Cape Town harbor.

The "Arch" as he is fondly known in South Africa, said in July he was spending too much time on planes and in airports on the lecture and conference circuit. Rather he said, he wants to have tea in the afternoons with his wife, write, pray, and watch lots of sport on TV.

Tutu used the pulpit and his clerical standing to boldly challenge the apartheid government for the injustices of the race based system. His actions brought him global recognition and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. He became the darling of the international media, but the target of government invective and anger. In an earlier interview Tutu told VOA that he may have been the one to stand out, but many others were at his side.

"I had very many supporting me and if I was standing it was because of all the many who were carrying me on their shoulders," he said. "And that is not being conventionally modest, it is the truth."

He added that the issues confronting church leaders during apartheid were clear-cut and straightforward.

"In a way I was fortunate to be part of the leadership of the church at a time when it was fairly straightforward, you were against apartheid, there was that system," he said. "And all you had to do was to fight against that system, and it is one of the easiest things actually to be against."

When democracy came to South Africa in 1994, Tutu joyfully described the people of this country as the "rainbow nation of God", a term that has come into common use.

In 1996 Tutu became chairman of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up to deal with gross human rights violations during the apartheid era. The commission gave victims an opportunity to have their grievances investigated by the commission and to share their stories. It also was mandated to grant amnesty to perpetrators who applied and fully disclosed their crimes.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Tutu had participated in a genome study and had his complete DNA sequenced. The study revealed that not only is Tutu a modern African, he also carries the DNA of South Africa's earliest residents, the Khoekhoe people.

Tutu earlier told VOA he was particularly delighted at the news, because the apartheid government had refused to officially acknowledge him as a South African national.

"And then just the wonderful privilege of discovering, you know I used to say when the apartheid government gave me a travel document that described my nationality as undeterminable at present, I said I mean you are crazy you guys.... my father, my mother, their parents before them were born in this country, how can I be undeterminable," he said.

Tutu will continue his work with the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, and with The Elders, a global council of respected individuals founded by fellow Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela.

See related report by Deborah Block:

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid