Archbishop Desmond Tutu attends an event in Cape Town, South Africa, in April 2019.
Tutu is seen at right with other members of the editorial staff of the Normalife, a publication produced by the students of the Pretoria Bantu Normal College in South Africa. Tutu graduated from the college with a teacher certificate in 1953.
Tutu is seen with his mother-in-law, Johanna Shenxane, and his wife, Leah, in the Kagiso township west of Johannesburg, circa 1970. Tutu resigned as a teacher in 1957, protesting government restrictions on education for black children. He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1961, and in 1975 he became the first black appointed Anglican dean of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg.
Tutu and his wife have four children together: Trevor, Theresa, Naomi and Mpho.
Tutu returns from a trip to the United Nations in April 1981. He was consecrated bishop of Lesotho in 1976. In 1978, he became the first black secretary general of the interdenominational South African Council of Churches.
Tutu receives the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize during the annual ceremony in Oslo, Norway.
US President Ronald Reagan meets with Tutu in the White House Oval Office in December 1984. Tutu denounced the Reagan administration’s policy toward the South African government as “immoral” and “un-Christian.”
Tutu, center, leads clergymen through Johannesburg in April 1985. They were heading to police headquarters to hand a petition calling for the release of political detainees.
Tutu and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley attend a news conference in Los Angeles in May 1985. Tutu, an outspoken opponent of South Africa’s apartheid regime, was on a four-day fundraising tour in California.
Tutu delivers a sermon at the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto, South Africa, in June 1985.
Tutu mediates a dispute between police in Soweto and mothers of children who had been arrested.
Tutu receives the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Non-Violence while visiting Atlanta in January 1986. At left is King’s wife, Coretta Scott King. King’s daughter Christine is behind Tutu, and Tutu’s daughter Naomi is at right.
Coretta Scott King, US Vice President George H.W. Bush and Tutu sing the civil rights hymn “We Shall Overcome” during a service honoring Martin Luther King Jr. in January 1986.
In 1986, Tutu was elected archbishop of Cape Town, becoming the head of the Anglican Church in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho.
During a 1986 news conference in Johannesburg, Tutu calls for economic sanctions against South Africa to fight the apartheid system of racial segregation.
Tutu meets US President Bill Clinton in 1989.
Tutu and Winnie Mandela march in Cape Town to protest the continued imprisonment of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela in February 1990. Later that day, South African President F.W. de Klerk would announce Mandela’s release.
Nelson Mandela, after being released from prison, visits Tutu in Johannesburg.
Tutu greets Mandela at a rally, weeks before South Africa’s historic democratic election in 1994.
Tutu casts his vote in South Africa’s first election that allowed citizens of all races to vote. “You just want to yell, dance, jump and cry all at the same time,” he said.
Tutu stands with Mandela after Mandela was elected president in 1994.
Tutu is seen with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as she visited Cape Town in 1995.
Tutu joyfully shouts “I am free! We are all free!” outside the Civic Centre in Cape Town in 1998. It was before a ceremony where he received the Freedom of the City award. In 1998, Tutu retired as the archbishop of Cape Town and became archbishop emeritus.
Tutu and the Dalai Lama attend the Nobel Peace Prize Centennial Symposium in 2001.
Tutu and other dignitaries escort the Olympic flag during the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Tutu hugs South African President Thabo Mbeki after turning over the Truth and Reconciliation Report in 2003. Tutu chaired the commission that produced the report.
Tutu, Elmo and Oprah Winfrey appear at the Sesame Workshop’s Benefit Gala in 2004.
Tutu wipes away tears after hearing Peter Gabriel sing “Biko” in Johannesburg in 2007. The song is about the death of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko.
Tutu talks with Mandela at an event in Johannesburg in 2008.
US President Barack Obama presents Tutu with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2009.
Children in Cape Town sing “Happy Birthday” to Tutu as he celebrates his 78th birthday in 2009.
Tutu delivers a speech during a 2009 conference for “One Young World,” the world’s largest gathering of young leaders.
Tutu speaks on stage during a FIFA World Cup celebration concert in 2010. South Africa was hosting the soccer tournament.
Tutu speaks out against the South African government for its failure to grant the Dalai Lama a visa to attend Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations in 2011.
Tutu dances at the launch of his biography “Tutu: The Authorised Portrait” in 2011.
Obama speaks with Tutu in Cape Town following a tour of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre in 2013.
Tutu leads a service in Cape Town after Mandela’s death in 2013.
Tutu prays during a vigil in Cape Town for the victims of a mass shooting in Orlando in 2016.
Tutu is comforted by Dean Michael Weeder as he cries during a Mass to mark his 85th birthday in 2016.
Tutu, accompanied by Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, cuts a ribbon to unveil the “Arch for the Arch” in 2017. The architectural structure commemorates Tutu’s life and work and also represents the 14 chapters of the South African constitution.
Tutu kisses Archie, the son of Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, in September 2019. The royal family was visiting South Africa.
Tutu and his wife, Leah, show their support for South Africa’s rugby team in this photo taken in October 2019. South Africa went on to win the Rugby World Cup.