Archbishop Desmond Tutu is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

Archbishop Mpilo Desmond Tutu, world renowned preacher and strident voice against apartheid, first Black Secretary General of the South African Council of Churches, first Black Archbishop of the Anglican Church in South Africa, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, and chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The award recognised his unifying role in the fight against apartheid. The Nobel Peace Prize Committee made specific mention of his part in the transition to democracy in South Africa. Despite sustained government harassment he was a staunch advocate of reconciliation between Blacks and Whites. Notwithstanding this significant award and congratulatory messages from governments across the globe, it was never celebrated by the South African government. This award pressured President P. W. Botha 's regime by its recognition of a visionary in the South African liberation struggle. Instead, Botha called Tutu a political preacher, undeserving of the award.

At the time, Tutu joined Chief Albert Luthuli, also a persistent critic of apartheid, as South Africa's second Nobel Peace Prize laureate. One of Tutu's earliest acts against apartheid was when he quit his teaching post in protest against the Bantu Education Act of 1953 designed to drastically reduce the education standards of Black South Africans.

Read Tutu's acceptance speech.

Other awards

Download the full list of awards and honours here (pdf)

Selection from Desmond Tutu's Awards and Honours

1978 – Honorary Doctorate of Divinity, General Theological Seminary, USA.
1979 – Honorary D.C. L., Harvard.
1980 – Prix d'Athene prize, Onassis Foundation, Greece.
1981 – Honorary Doctorate of Theology, Ruhr University, Bochum, West Germany.
1981 – Honorary Doctorate of Divinity, Aberdeen University, Scotland.
1981 – Newsmaker of the year, Southern African Society of Journalists.
1982 – Honorary Doctorate of sacred Theology, Columbia University.
1984 – Nobel Peace Prize, Norway.
1984 – Martin Luther King Jnr Humanitarian Award.
1986 – Ordained as the Archbishop of Cape Town.
1987-97 – President All Africa Conferences of Churches.
1988 – Chancellor of the University of Western Cape.
1989 – Joint recipient Third World Prize.
1996 – Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town.
1996 – Order for meritorious Service (Gold) from State President, Nelson Mandela.
1989 – Robert R Woodruff Visiting Professor, Candler School of Theology.
1992 – Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Award.
1998 – Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour from French President Jacques Chirac.
1999-2001   William R Cannon Visiting Distinguished Professor Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, USA.
2002 – Visiting Professor, The Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
2007 – Honorary Doctorate in Education, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, for his fight for equal education for all children in South Africa.
2007 – Headed a group of statesmen known as The Elders to Khartoum, seeking to help peace efforts in Darfur.


  • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau
  • Fraser, R. (1984). Keesing's Record of World Events, Longman: London, p. 33253.




The complete transcripts of interview conducted by Dr. Franklin with Desmond Tutu. Tutu was the chairman of the TRC in 1997.

  • Tutu is the author of the following collections of sermons and addresses:
  • 1982 – Crying in the Wilderness.
  • 1983 – Hope & Suffering: Sermons and Speeches.
  • 1989 – The Words of Desmond Tutu.
  • 1994 – The Rainbow People of God.
  • 1994 – No Future Without Forgiveness.

He also wrote many forwards and other contributions to books and journals.

Collections in the Archives