Desmond Tutu Quotes. Biography

Archbishop-Tutu-medium Desmond Tutu was born in Klerksdorp, Transvaal 7 October 1931 in South Africa. As a vocal and committed opponent of apartheid in South Africa, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. In the transition to democracy, Tutu was an influential figure in promoting the concept of forgiveness and reconciliation. Tutu has been recognised as the ‘moral conscience of South Africa’ and frequently speaks up on issues of justice and peace.

“Good is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is stronger than death. Victory is ours, through him who loves us.”

“If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn’t worship that God.”

“A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.”

“Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity.”

“Children are a wonderful gift. They have an extraordinary capacity to see into the heart of things and to expose sham and humbug for what they are.”[53]

“Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

# “For goodness sake, will they hear, will white people hear what we are trying to say? Please, all we are asking you to do is to recognize that we are humans, too.”

“I am a leader by default, only because nature does not allow a vacuum.”

# “I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of human rights.”

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

“I am fifty-two years of age. I am a bishop in the Anglican Church, and a few people might be constrained to say that I was reasonably responsible. In the land of my birth I cannot vote, whereas a young person of eighteen can vote. And why? Because he or she possesses that wonderful biological attribute — a white skin.”

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”

“Niger is not an isolated island of desperation. It lies within a sea of problems across Africa – particularly the ‘forgotten emergencies’ in poor countries or regions with little strategic or material appeal.”

“Those who invest in South Africa should not think they are doing us a favor; they are here for what they get out of our cheap and abundant labor, and they should know that they are buttressing one of the most vicious systems.”

“We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low.”

“We would like to see you departing peacefully.”

“What is black empowerment when it seems to benefit not the vast majority but an elite that tends to be recycled?”

“When a pile of cups is tottering on the edge of the table and you warn that they will crash to the ground, in South Africa you are blamed when that happens.”

“Without forgiveness, there’s no future.”

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”

“You must show the world that you abhor fighting.”

“Freedom and liberty lose out by default because good people are not vigilant.”

“We who advocate peace are becoming an irrelevance when we speak peace. The government speaks rubber bullets, live bullets, tear gas, police dogs, detention, and death.”

“At home in South Africa I have sometimes said in big meetings where you have black and white together: ‘Raise your hands!’ Then I have said: ‘Move your hands,’ and I’ve said ‘Look at your hands – different colors representing different people. You are the Rainbow People of God.’”

“It was relatively easy, we now realize, to categorize countries and nations. You knew who your enemies were and whom you could count on as collaborators and friends. And even more importantly, you had ready-made scapegoats to take the blame when things were going wrong.”

“Resentment and anger are bad for your blood pressure and your digestion.”

“Without forgiveness there can be no future for a relationship between individuals or within and between nations.”

# “South Africa, so utterly improbably, is a beacon of hope in a dark and troubled world.”

# “I don’t preach a social gospel; I preach the Gospel, period. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned for the whole person. When people were hungry, Jesus didn’t say, “Now is that political or social?” He said, “I feed you.” Because the good news to a hungry person is bread.”

# “I long and work for a South Africa that is more open and more just; Where people count and where they have equal access to the good things of life; With equal opportunity to live, work and learn.”

# “What has happened to us? It seems as if we have perverted our freedom, our rights into license, into being irresponsible. Perhaps we did not realise just how apartheid has damaged us so that we seem to have lost our sense of right and wrong” (on South Africa’s horrific rates of violent crime and rape).

# “We refuse to be treated as the doormat for the government to wipe its jackboots on.”

# “Fundamental rights belong to the human being just because you are a human being.”

# “I will never tell anyone to pick up a gun. But I will pray for the man who picks up a gun, pray that he will be less cruel than he might otherwise have been….”

# “The reprisal against the suicide bomber does not bring peace. There is a suicide bomber, a reprisal and then a counter-reprisal. And it just goes on and on.”

Related pages

Desmond Tutu Biography

Believe: The Words and Inspiration of Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Me-We)

Book Cover Rabble Rouser for Peace

God has a Dream by Desmond Tutu

Martin_Luther_King_Jr Inspirational people – People who made a difference in a positive way and left the world a better place. Includes Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Teresa and Emil Zatopek.

People who fought for human/civil rights rosa parks – People who campaigned for equality, civil rights and civil justice. Includes Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.