Desmond Tutu

by LaDrea from Raleigh

A hero to me is a person that gives courage - courage to live strong. A hero should always be able to give hope even though there is none to give. In my mind, a hero should always support and defend - be loyal. Also, when I think of heroes, the word perseverance comes to my mind. A person who is truly a hero in the world today is Desmond Tutu.

Desmond Tutu Portrait
Desmond Tutu Portrait

Desmond Mpilo Tutu was born October 7, 1931 in Klerksdorph, Transvaal. At the age of 12, Tutu moved with his family to Johannesburg. Even though Desmond Tutu wanted to be a physician, his family couldn’t afford the training, so, instead, he followed his father’s footsteps into teaching. Tutu began his studies at Pretoria Bantu Normal College from 1951-1953, and at this time he also received his diploma. He later went on to the University of South Africa and received his Bachelor of Arts degree.

On July 2, 1955, he married his wife, Leah, and they later had four children. He went on teaching at Johannesburg Bantu High School where he remained until 1957. Desmond Tutu then resigned following the passage of the Bantu Education Act, protesting the poor educational prospects for black South Africans. Desmond Tutu continued to study theology and in 1960 was ordained as an Anglican Priest. He was then named the Anglican Dean of Johannesburg, South Africa in 1975.

In 1978 he was the first black to hold the position of Dean of St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg. He later became the Bishop of Lesotho. Later on in the year, he became the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. The South African Council of Churches is a contact organization for the churches of South Africa and functions as a national committee for the World Council of Churches. About 80 percent of their members are black, and they now dominate the leading positions. During this time, Tutu gained International recognition for his vocalization against racial apartheid.

Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu

Tutu was a South African Civil Rights leader. He worked to end South Africa's strict racial segregation policy, known as apartheid. Apartheid means an official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites. Tutu describes the apartheid system as "evil and unchristian." Desmond Tutu formulated his objectives for a democratic and just society without racial division and for everyone to have equal rights. He set forward these following points: the abolition of South Africa's passport laws, a common system of education, the cessation of forced deportation from South Africa to the so-called "homelands" and equal rights.

In the year of 1979 with the capital leaving the country, black workers were able to form unions. The United Democratic Front otherwise known as UDF had nearly 600 members in their organization. The UDF was formed to stop apartheid. Tutu was one of the Front's prime spokesmen. Desmond Tutu was awarded the Nobel Prize in recognition of "the courage and heroism shown by black South Africans in their time with the peaceful method of struggle against apartheid."

So as you can see, Desmond Mpilo Tutu is a true hero. He fits my full description of what a hero should be. He has accomplished a lot of things in his life. For some people who are wondering "How did he do it all?" Desmond Tutu had faith in God to keep moving on and now you see he is a well-known man. He has proven himself to me and others throughout this country that he is a worthy person and a tremendous leader.

Related Links

Desmond Tutu - Biography of the Nobel Prize winner for Peace
Desmond Tutu - Biography from Wikipedia
Desmond Tutu Peace Center - Tutu.org
Desmond Tutu - Academy of Achievement

Related Books