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Guided by the legacy of its founders, the Foundation contributes to the development of youth and leadership, facilitates discussions about social justice and common human purpose, and makes the lessons Archbishop Tutu learned and taught accessible to new generations.


To articulate values and principles associated with Archbishop and Mrs Tutu, apply them to contemporary life and contribute, from the Southern tip of Africa, to the development of a fairer, more just and compassionate world.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu


Desmond Mpilo Tutu is a South African church leader who rose to global prominence for his service to the struggle against apartheid. After South Africa’s liberation he was chosen by Nelson Mandela to head the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission – and later applied his accumulated experience to become arguably the world’s foremost activist for social justice issues of our time.

Tutu is among the last surviving members of a unique generation of human rights centred activists and leaders who emerged after World War Two and the establishment of the United Nations with the promise of a fairer, more just and compassionate world. Other members of this group, all of whom were awarded Nobel Peace prizes, included Dr Martin Luther King, Dag Hammarsskjold, Andrei Sakharov, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama and Kofi Annan.

There are few countries on earth that Desmond Tutu hasn’t visited, few people he hasn’t touched, few human issues he hasn’t personally engaged. He is a global authority on economic boycott and divestment asnon-violent tools for change; a leading voice against consumptives, greed and environmental injustice; a campaigner against nuclear weapons, the death penalty and child marriage; and a fighter for equal rights for men and women, for members of the LGBTI community, for Israelis and Palestinians, and for restitution for First Nations… He never flinched from speaking truth to power.

Archbishop Tutu has been married for more than 60 years to Nomalizo Leah Tutu, who was a close friend of his sister’s and was taught by his father. Mrs Tutu was a teacher, mother, nurse and human rights activist who helped found a trade union for domestic workers and held her husband’s hand through the tumultuousanti-apartheid and Truth and Reconciliation Commission periods.

The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation was established in Cape Town in 2013, soon after the Archbishop announced his retirement from public life (in fact, he continued to work for several more years). It is a centre of knowledge and discourse, a repository for intellectual property, and a platform to reconnect people to each other and to their own integrity.

The Foundation is a physical space for exhibitions, programmes and events, and an intellectual space for the development of human consciousness about the critical issues affecting the earth and its inhabitants.

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