Desmond Tutu Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts

CB presents the Full Story of an Advocate who is best known by the nickname “The Arch”. Our Desmond Tutu Childhood Story plus Untold Biography Facts brings you a full account of notable events from his childhood time to date. The analysis involves his life story before fame, family life/background and many OFF and ON-Screen little-known facts about him.

Yes, everyone knows of his ecclesiastical role as an Archbishop. However, only a few consider Desmond Tutu’s Bio which is quite interesting. Now, without further ado, let’s begin.

Desmond Tutu Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts: Early Life

Desmond Tutu Mpilo was born on the 7th day of October 1931 in Klerksdorp, South Africa. He was born to his mother, Allen Mathlare and father, Zachariah Tutu. Desmond’s father was an elementary school principal, while his mother worked at a school for the blind.

Growing up in Klerksdorp which is best known for its beautiful nature reserves and warm hospitality, Young Tutu was an avid reader who spent the better part of his formative years consuming literary materials.

Tutu’s love for reading was induced by his parents work in educational institutions and not an escape from the racial segregation which South Africa was characterized with at the time.

More so, the rationale behind his love for reading was made evident in his childhood literary collections that comprised Aesop’s fables, plays by William Shakespeare and Comic Strip books. These books are mostly read with a view to stimulating imagination.

Although the segregation in South Africa was to a degree that Young Tutu could understand why his white counterparts had preferential treatment, he resolved to live above all which resultantly made him had the best of a childhood experience.

Recounting the distasteful experience of segregation years later, Tutu recalled that;

“The manner in which white kids were accorded preferential treatment made us realize early on that something was amiss. However, we didn’t deprive ourselves of the things that made life meaningful. we created our own heaven”

Desmond Tutu Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts: Education/Career Buildup

Tutu had his basic education at Klerksdorp after which he kick-started his high school education at Bantu High School, an institution which was one of the underdeveloped learning centres in Johannesburg at the time.

In spite of the poor state of the school, Tutu fared well in academics by ensuring that he made the best out of his teachers’ commitment to impact on their students regardless of challenges being experienced.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way, our teachers were committed and their disposition to work made it logically impossible for any of us to be mediocre students”. 

Recalls Tutu of his high school teachers.

Upon graduation from high school in 1950, Tutu was offered an opportunity to study medicine as he had once resolved to delve into the science of healing after recuperating from tuberculosis when he was a teenager.

Tutu’s aspirations did not materialize due to the inability of his parent’s poor finances to cushion the immense tuition fee for medical school. Hence, he fell back on studying education and graduated as a teacher in 1953.

Desmond Tutu Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts: Road To Fame

Tutu put his bachelor degree in education into good use by teaching English and History at his Alma mater (Bantu High school). Though he was happy with giving back to the school which had impacted him positively, he felt the need to embark on a higher purpose. That is, bringing an end Apartheid in South Africa.

This informed his descision to embark on the career path of becoming a clergyman. consequently, he began to study at St. Peter’s Theological College in Johannesburg in 1958, became an Anglican deacon in 1960 and was ordained as a priest in 1961.

Tutu’s desire to further his studies saw him move to London where he bagged masters of theology in 1966 at King’s college. Commenting on his resolve to become a clergyman Tutu noted that he believed religion could play a potent role in ending Apartheid as he explains below;

“My first witness of racial equality occurred while i was walking with my mother. We crossed paths with a priest who suprisingly tipped his hat for my mother. That gesture made me realize that religion is a Potent tool for informing change”

Desmond Tutu Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts: Rise To Fame

Desmond Tutu’s rise to fame was influenced by his ecclesiastical roles which saw him assume and fare well in positions that were foreign to blacks. Notable among the numerous position was his appointment as the first black dean of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg.

Tutu did well to exploit his position as dean in writing and speaking against apartheid, an activism which he sustained while he rose through ecclesiastical ranks of African religious hierarchy.

His activism metamorphosed into protest marches which led to his arrest and short-term detention in 1980.

It wasn’t long before his advocacy of non-violent protest fetched him a growing international stature that saw him win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. The rest, as they say, is history.

Desmond Tutu Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts: Relationship Life

Desmond Tutu has been in decades of relationship with his wife Nomalizo Leah Shenxane also known as Leah.

The duo met in college during a period when Leah was already serving as a teacher in the institution. Years later they tied the knot on the 2nd of July, 1955.

Their relationship is blessed with four children who include Trevor Thamsanqa Tutu (only son) Theresa Thandeka Tutu (a health care practitioner), Naomi Nontombi Tutu (a human right activist) and Mpho Andrea Tutu (a dismissed Anglican priest).

Desmond Tutu Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts: Family Life

Desmond Tutu grew up in a family of 7. We bring you details about members of his family.

About his Father: Desmond Tutu’s father, Zachariah Zelilo Tutu was a teacher before becoming a principal in an elementary school in South Africa. Zachariah had a sour relationship with Tutu who disliked him for his drunkness and use of physical assault on his wife, Allen Mathlare.

Mother: Desmond Tutu’s Mother, Dorothea Mavoertsek Mathlare was a cook and cleaner at a handicapped school for the blind before she ventured into the teaching profession. She’s also mother to Tutu’s 4 siblings (Tamsaqa, Sipho, Gloria and Sylvia).

Desmond Tutu Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts: Personal Facts

Desmond Tutu is one who has a disciplined, down to earth, honest and calm personality. More so, he detests oppression and never ceases to preach the act of forgiveness to the world.

Desmond Tutu Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts: Battles with Illness

Desmond Tutu has had a long battle with illnesses for the better part of his formative years. The clergyman who battled with polio and chicken pox when he was a baby, contracted a very deadly cough disease known as tuberculosis. It took Desmond two years before he recovered from the terminal illness. The last has not been heard of his illness as he is currently battling with prostate cancer.

Desmond Tutu Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts: Relationship with Nelson Mandela

One cannot possibly talk about the anti-apartheid movement without mentioning the name of a great activist, Late Nelson Mandela who lived with Tutu on the same street (Vilikazi Street) in 1975.

When the fight against apartheid was finally won in 1993, it was Tutu (Archbishop at the time) who did the honours of introducing the new president to the nation.

In addition, Mandela appointed Tutu to head the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was charged with laying bare atrocities committed by both sides in the struggle of ending apartheid.

Desmond Tutu Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts: Renowned Author

Desmond has written numerous books that are centred on apartheid, oppression, freedom and peace. Notable among the books are Crying in the Wilderness, Hope and Suffering, Sermons and Speeches, The Words of Desmond Tutu, as well as Newmarket.

Others include The Rainbow People of God: The Making of a Peaceful Revolution, Worshipping Church in Africa, An African Prayer Book, Desmond and The Very Mean Word among others.

Desmond Tutu Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts: Death Rumour

On April 22, 2018, news filtered on social media that the legendary peace advocate was dead. Tutu dismissed the death story as gibberish noting that he is still very much alive.

Desmond Tutu Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts: Achievements

Desmond Tutu story won’t be complete without worthy mentions of his achievements and honours. They include;

  • He was the third person to be awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Colombia University.
  • In 2000, the Munsieville Library in Klerksdorp was renamed the Desmond Tutu Library.
  • In 2002, the Desmond Tutu School of Theology was launched at Fort Hare University
  • Former president of United States, President Barack Obama, awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

  • In 2008, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois proclaimed 13 May ‘Desmond Tutu Day’.
  • In 2013, Desmond Tutu received the £1.1m ($1.6m) Templeton Prize for “his life-long work in advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness”
  • Queen Elizabeth awarded him with Bailiff Grand Cross of the Venerable Order of St.John. Nelson Mandela was also awarded.

Desmond Tutu Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts: Other Facts

  • His Daughter Mpho was dismissed as a priest because she got married to a woman

  • He supports Gay Rights, Assisted Dying (Euthanasia) and Legalization of Abortion
  • He featured in the documentary play “Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom”  playing the role of Lord Justice Steyn in 2004.
  • Desmond Coined the phrase Rainbow Nation for post-apartheid South Africa

FACT CHECKThanks for reading our DESMOND TUTU Childhoodhood Story plus untold biography facts. At ChildhoodBiography, we strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn’t look right in this article, please place your comment or contact us!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments