A big thank you, from the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation

The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation wishes to thank the thousands of people from all corners of the world who showered love and appreciation on Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on 7 October 2021, his 90th birthday.

Four ethical global leaders delivered the 11th Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture on the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s birthday. The lecture is a pinnacle event for the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, which has staged all 11 of the lectures, delivered by leaders as diverse as former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and Zimbabwean businessman-philanthropist Strive Masiyiwa.

“The outpouring of love and appreciation is warmly welcomed. As the custodians of the Archbishop’s legacy, the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation is reminded of the immense task we have to protect and extend the wonderful inheritance the Archbishop is bequeathing to the world,” says the foundation’s CEO, Piyushi Kotecha.

Along with messages from political and religious leaders from across the globe, Archbishop Tutu’s birthday was celebrated with an elegant and beautiful cake made by Charly’s Bakery. The confectionery was emblazoned with a powerful epithet: a moral megaphone for peace.

Guided by the values of its founders, the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation aims to draw strength from the struggles and hard-won achievements of Desmond and Leah Tutu, in order to continue their good work, building a future of justice, equality and prosperity for future generations.

The first-ever peace lecture was stopped before a word could be uttered. South Africa’s apartheid government imposed a partial State of Emergency in July 1985, and so the world did not get to hear the Archbishop, then Bishop of Johannesburg, use the context of what would have been the inaugural Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture, in September that year, to make a plea for harmony between the races, and for the government to switch from pouring money into military hardware and security to investing in health and education for all.

It was more than 25 years before the idea of a peace lecture came to fruition. By that time Desmond Tutu was an Archbishop with an even greater international reputation as an outspoken advocate for justice, “international” was added to the name. The inaugural Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture was delivered by the Archbishop’s friend and self-acclaimed spiritual brother, the 14th Dalai Lama, in 2011.

Since then the Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture has become the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation’s annual flagship event, true to the Archbishop’s status as someone who is always ready to speak truth to power, no matter the personal consequences.

Previous speakers are:

  • Graça Machel (2012), former first lady and human rights activist
  • Kofi Annan (2013), former Secretary General of the United Nations
  • Mary Robinson (2014), former President of Ireland
  • Thuli Madonsela (2015), former Public Protector of South Africa
  • Hina Jilani (2016), Pakistani human rights lawyer
  • Vasu Gounden (2017), founder and executive director of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Cyril Ramaphosa (2018), President of the Republic of South Africa
  • Strive Masiyiwa (2019), businessman-philanthropist
  • Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and young African environmental activists Ayakha Melithafa and Vanessa Nakate (2020)

The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation was established by the South African couple in 2013 to inspire young people to emulate their uncompromised bravery in the quest for a richer, more fulfilling life for all. The foundation’s task is to use the Tutus’ rich archival heritage to promote learning, leadership and dialogue.

To further this goal, the foundation’s 90@90 campaign aims to raise R90-million for the Tutu Legacy Fund by  7 October 2022. To make a donation, visit