Although he wanted to become a physician, his family could not afford the training and he followed his father’s footsteps into teaching. Tutu studied at the Pretoria Bantu Normal College from 1951 through 1953. Tutu went on to teach at Johannesburg Bantu High School where he remained until 1957; he resigned following the passage of the Bantu Education Act, protesting the poor educational prospects for black South Africans. He continued his studies, this time in theology, and in 1960 was ordained as an Anglican priest.
In 1986 Tutu was elected and ordained the first black South African Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, and primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, South Africa’s church body comprising the worldwide Anglican Communion. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. After the fall of apartheid, he headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, for which he was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999. He is generally credited with coining the term “Rainbow Nation” as a metaphor to describe post-apartheid South Africa after 1994 under ANC rule. The expression has since entered mainstream consciousness to describe South Africa’s ethnic diversity.
“Be nice to the whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity.”
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”
“When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”
“In our African language we say ‘a person is a person through other persons.’ I would not know how to be a human being at all except I learned this from other human beings. We are made for a delicate network of relationships, of interdependence. We are meant to complement each other. All kinds of things go horribly wrong when we break that fundamental law of our being. Not even the most powerful nation can be completely self-sufficient.”