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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

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