Desmond Tutu: 1931 – 2021

Desmond Tutu


Desmond Tutu, former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa and fierce opponent of apartheid died on Boxing Day, 2021.  

He is survived by Leah, his wife of sixty-six years, and their four children: Theresa, Trevor, Mpho, and Naomi.  He served in many capacities but was best known for his role as Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986-1996.  He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

Tutu espoused Liberation Theology and campaigned for same-sex marriage. He was considered very much on the liberal left of the Church.  

His daughter, Mpho had been an ordained Anglican until she chose to enter a same-sex marriage with another woman.  She turned in her licence before the diocese demanded its return.

Widely hailed by liberal establishment figures, none mentioned open departures from the faith once delivered to the saints.  He equated the opposition of homosexuality with racism.

In 2013 whilst promoting gay rights for a UN-backed campaign, the BBC reported that Tutu said, 

“I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place,” Archbishop Tutu said at the launch of the Free and Equal campaign in Cape Town.

“I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.”

Archbishop Tutu said the campaign against homophobia was similar to the campaign waged against racism in South Africa.

“I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level.”

In 2009, CNN quoted Tutu about his views on the Bible.

He said, ”You have to understand that the Bible is really a library of books and it has different categories of material”, he said. “There are certain parts which you have to say no to. The Bible accepted slavery. St. Paul said women should not speak in church at all and there are people who have used that to say women should not be ordained. There are many things that you shouldn’t accept.”