Sermon by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Transcript of a sermon preached by Archbishop Desmond Tutu at Westminster Abbey, 20th July 1994, at the service to welcome South Africa back to the Commonwealth after the end of apartheid.

Administrative / Biographical History

Desmond Mpilo Tutu was born in Klerksdorp, Transvaal in 1931, was educated at Johannesburg Bantu High School, trained as a teacher at Pretoria Bantu Normal College and graduated from the University of South Africa in 1954. After three years spent as a high school teacher, he began studying theology and was ordained as a deacon in 1960, serving in Benoni Location, then as a priest in 1961. Further theological study in England led to a Masters degree in Theology, [1966].

On his return to South Africa, from 1967-1972, he lectured at the Federal Theological Seminary at the Cape and at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. He then spent three years back in England as Assistant Director of a theological institute in London, as well as working for the World Council of Churches. He was appointed Dean of St. Mary's Cathedral, Johannesburg in 1975, was Bishop of Lesotho, 1976-1978, and in 1978 became General secretary of the South African Council of Churches. Meanwhile, he campaigned actively and internationally against apartheid, especially regarding sanctions, and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. He was made Bishop of Johannesburg the following year, and Archbishop of Cape Town and Head of the Anglican Church in South Africa in 1986.

He retired in 1996 and became Chairman of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. By 2003 he was Visiting Professor at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, United States. An honorary doctor of various universities in the United States, Great Britain and Germany, his publications include Crying in the Wilderness. The Struggle for Justice in South Africa, edited by John Webster (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Eerdmans; 1982), Hope and Suffering: Sermons and Speeches, edited by John Webster (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Eerdmans; 1984), and The Rainbow People of God: The Making of a Peaceful Revolution, edited by John Allen (New York; Doubleday; 1994).

In 1955 he married Leah Nomaliso, with whom he had four children.

Conditions Governing Access

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Paul Davidson, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

No reproduction or publication of papers without permission. Contact thelibrary in the first instance.


Two audio cassette tapes of two seminars on Politics and Wealth held at Rhodes House, 3rd and 8th February 1995, during Archbishop Desmond Tutu's mission to Oxford, were donated by one of the mission's organisers (anonymous) in March 1995.