Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

Who was Archbishop Desmond Tutu?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Desmond Tutu

Mains level : Anti-apartheid struggle in Africa

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and veteran of South Africa’s struggle against white minority rule has died on December 26 at the age of 90.

Try this question from CS Mains 2016:


Q. The anti-colonial struggles in West Africa were led by the new elite of Western-educated Africans. Examine.

Desmond Tutu (1931- 2021)

  • Tutu was a South African Anglican cleric who in 1984 received the Nobel Prize for Peace for his role in the opposition to apartheid in South Africa.
  • A decade later, he witnessed the ends of that regime and he chaired a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to unearth atrocities committed during those dark days.
  • He was considered the nation’s conscience by both, the black majority and the white minority, an enduring testament to his faith and spirit of reconciliation in a divided nation.

His notable works

  • During South Africa’s moves toward democracy in the early 1990s, Tutu propagated the idea of South Africa as “the Rainbow Nation”.
  • The term was intended to encapsulate the unity of multi-culturalism and the coming together of people of many different nations, in a country once identified with the strict division of white and black under the Apartheid regime.
  • In 1995 South African Pres. Nelson Mandela appointed Tutu head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated allegations of human rights abuses during the apartheid era.


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