//raising the voices of change

1984 – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, anti-apartheid hero

In 1979, Anglican priest Desmond Mpilo Tutu became the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC). He spoke strongly and internationally, pushing for non-violent change and economic sanctions against South Africa. In reaction, the South African government revoked his passport.

By 1982, Tutu’s isolation and his refusal to be silenced became a worldwide embarrassment for South Africa. Even more so in 1984 when he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

A month after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Tutu was elected the first black Anglican bishop of Johannesburg. In 1986 he was elected Archbishop of Capetown, the highest position in the Anglican Church in South Africa. In 1989 he led a march to a whites-only beach, where he and supporters were chased off with whips.

in 1994 after the end of Apartheid and the election of Mandela, Tutu was appointed chair of the South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to investigate apartheid-era crimes. His policy of forgiveness and reconciliation has become an international standard.

photo by Peter Badge