Resources for Teachers and Students on Desmond Tutu

Prepare: Archbishop Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. His biography and the text of his Nobel lecture can be found on the Nobel website.

Read: Desmond Tutu's Architects of Peace essay is excerpted from his book No Future Without Forgiveness, a memoir of his time as the chair of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In this excerpt, Tutu reflects on the process of liberation for marginalized persons.

Explore: Because of his deep commitment to achieving civil rights through non-violent means, Desmond Tutu is often considered to be to South Africa what Martin Luther King was to America. This moral authority became all the more important when the apartheid laws were finally reversed, and Tutu spearheaded efforts to curtail violent reprisals against the white minority of South Africa. Although the Truth and Reconciliation Commission no longer exists, having fulfilled its mandate, reconciliation efforts in post-apartheid South Africa are ongoing through such agencies as the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. Details about their ongoing programs, and links to other South African agencies dedicated to non-violence, can be found on their website.

Write: In his Architects of Peace essay, Desmond Tutu states that forgiveness and reconciliation are not to be entered into lightly. Why not? What are the demands of forgiveness and reconciliation that make it a rigorous process? What are the moral and emotional obstacles one must confront? Is there ever a time when it's enough simply to shake hands and walk away? Write a two-to-three page reflection paper on the demands of this process in which you focus, as much as possible, on forgiveness and reconciliation between groups that have long been at odds.

Extend: Although Desmond Tutu retired in 1996as Archbishop of Cape Town, he continues to be active in the cause of peace, especially through the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre, currently under construction in Cape Town. One of the center's major focuses will be to inspire emerging leadership among youth of high school and college age.

Additional Resource: Desmond Tutu is patron of an international art project, currently in its early stages, called "Hands that Shape Humanity." This project takes wisdom as its focus, and asks the question, "If there was only one message of wisdom you could leave behind for humanity, what would it be?" Numerous other Architects of Peace will be involved in this project. The exhibit will tour the world before being permanently housed in Cape Town.

Biography of Desomond Tutu