Nomalizo Leah Tutu

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Tutu in 1997

Nomalizo Leah Tutu (14 October 1933) is a South African activist and the wife of Desmond Tutu.[1][2]


Nomalizo Leah Tutu was born Nomalizo Leah Shenxane in 1933 in Krugersdorp.[2] She married Desmond Tutu on July 2, 1955. They had four children: Trevor Thamsanqa, Theresa Thandeka, Naomi Nontombi and Mpho Andrea, all of whom attended the Waterford Kamhlaba School in Swaziland.[3] They have 9 grandchildren: Palesa Tutu and Lizo Tutu via Trevor, Xabiso Gxashe via Thandeka, Tebogo Joy Ngoma, Nompumelelo Ngomane, and Mpilo Ngomane via Naomi, and Nyaniso Burris and Onalena Burris via Mpho.[4] They renewed their marriage vows in 2015 in Orlando, Soweto.[5] She underwent hip surgery in 2016.[6]

Career and activism[edit]

Leah is a teacher and a nurse. During the period between 1970 and 1972, she worked as an assistant to the registrar at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.[2] She co-founded the South African Domestic Workers Association.[1] She was the director of the Domestic Workers and Employers Project of the South African Institute of Race Relations from 1976 to 1984.[2][4] She co-founded the Desmond Tutu Peace Center in 1988. She lectures to many churches and women's groups.[4]


In 2000, the National Louis University awarded her an honorary doctorate, along with her husband.[2][4] In 2009, she and her husband were awarded the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award by the We Are Family Foundation.[7]


  1. ^ a b Jansen, Jonathan. "The Big Read: Leah Tutu true grit behind the glory". Times Live. Times Live. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Turok, Karina (2009). Life and Soul: Portraits of Women who Move South Africa. Double Storey Publishers.
  3. ^ "Our Patron – Archbishop Desmond Tutu". Cape Town Child Welfare. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d "We Are Family Foundation - Honorees". We Are Family Foundation. We Are Family Foundation. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  5. ^ Harley, Nicola. "Desmond Tutu renews wedding vows". The Telegraph. The Telegraph. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  6. ^ Etheridge, Jenna. "Leah Tutu recovering well after surgery". News24. News24. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Archbishop Desmond Tutu & Leah Tutu". We Are Family Foundation. Retrieved 2017-09-08.