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Archbishop Desmond Tutu: Biography, Age, Wife, Children, Career, Profile

BIRTH NAME: Desmond Mpilo Tutu
BEST KNOWN: Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
DATE OF BIRTH: 7 October 1931
PLACE OF BIRTH: Klerksdorp, Western Transvaal (now North West Province)
TITLE: Archbishop Emeritus
WIFE: Nomalizo Leah Tutu
CHILDREN: Mpho Andrea Tutu, Naomi Nontombi Tutu, Trevor Thamsanqa Tutu and Theresa Thandeka Tutu

Desmond Mpilo Tutu whose best known as Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, is a South African Outspoken critic of apartheid, teacher, author, lecturer, Nobel Prize winner, former Archbishop of Cape Town and Archbishop Emeritus of South Africa.

Early Life , Background And Childhood

Desmond Mpilo Tutu was born on the 7th October 1931 in Klerksdorp, Western Transvaal (now North West Province). He was eight years old when his father was transferred to a school that catered for African, Indian and Coloured children in Ventersdorp. He also was a pupil at this school, growing up in an environment where there were children from other communities. He was baptised as a Methodist but it was in Ventersdorp that the family followed his sister, Sylvia’s lead into the African Methodical Episcopal Church and finally in 1943 the entire family became Anglicans.

In 1945, he began his secondary education at the Western High, a Government secondary school in the old Western Native Township, near Sophiatown. Although he had fallen behind at school, owing to his illness, his principal took pity on him and allowed him to join the Matriculation class. At the end of 1950, he passed the Joint Matriculation Board examination, studying into the night by candlelight.


Leah Tutu and Desmond Tutu

On 2 July 1955, Tutu married Nomalizo Leah Shenxane and the have four children namely; Mpho Andrea Tutu, Naomi Nontombi Tutu, Trevor Thamsanqa Tutu and Theresa Thandeka Tutu.

His father, Zachariah, who was educated at a Mission school, was the headmaster of a high school in Klerksdorp, a small town in the Western Transvaal (now North West Province). His mother, Aletha Matlhare, was a domestic worker. They had four children, three girls and a boy.


Tutu was accepted to study at the Witwatersrand Medical School but was unable to obtain a bursary. He thus decided to follow his father’s example and become a teacher. In 1951, he enrolled at the Bantu Normal College, outside Pretoria, to study for a teacher’s diploma.

In 1954, Tutu completed a teaching diploma from the Bantu Normal College and taught at his old school, Madipane High in Krugersdorp. In 1955, he also obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Africa (UNISA).

The years 1962-66 were devoted to further theological study in England leading up to a Master of Theology.


From 1967 to 1972 he taught theology in South Africa before returning to England for three years as the assistant director of a theological institute in London. In 1975 he was appointed Dean of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg, the first black to hold that position. From 1976 to 1978 he was Bishop of Lesotho, and in 1978 became the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. Tutu is an honorary doctor of a number of leading universities in the USA, Britain and Germany.