Talk:Desmond Tutu

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Former good article nominee Desmond Tutu was a Philosophy and religion good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
July 2, 2005 Peer review Reviewed
June 6, 2008 Peer review Reviewed
July 2, 2008 Good article nominee Not listed
Current status: Former good article nominee
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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Desmond Tutu:

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    Tutu's influence in South Africa
    Tutu's anti-apartheid activities
    Tutu's role in combatting HIV/Aids


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Article's subject matter are out of relative proportion[edit]

Firtsly let me introduce myself and any bias that may go along with it. I am a South African Anglican (admitedly I attend chruch only a few times a year) that lives not far from Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

I have read the article and the above debate. The problem with the article is not one of neutrality but one of relevance and proportionality

  • This is an article about Desmond Tutu. It is not an article about the the Israeli / Palestine conflict
  • Apart from his religious duties, Archbishop Desmond Tutu's life was centered about his battle against apartheid. He won the Nobel Peace Prixe for the activism.
  • Second to that has been his run-ns with the new SA government
  • Only after that has been his comments about Israel.
  • Yet the artcile spends more time on homosexuality and Israel and Palestine than it does on his battle against apartheid or his religious duty. It is not relevant that those matters are important to you. What is relevant is what was and is important to the Archbishop.
  • It is not relevant whether the comments about Israel are neutral. The article is unbalanced.
  • This is an encyclopedia and not a platform for debate. We should be describing the Archbishop and the matters that were closest to his heart. The Palestie Israel debate belongs in another article (except for Desmonds opinion on the matter)

Therefore I propose

  • We expand the anti apartheid part of the article
  • We expand his debates with the current SA government
  • We expand the content on his religious career
  • We slightly reduce his comments on homsexuality
  • We slightly reduce his comments on the Israel conflict

None of the reduced content needs to be lost. It can get moved to sub-articles

Please let me know what you think. I have not been part of this edit-war so don't paint me with any brush.

The debate and edit war demeans the great man that the Archbishop clearly is.

Ask yourself the question. Does his battle with apartheid describe the man? Or does his comments about Israel or homosexuality describe the man? Please lets get off out soapboxes

--Tiucsib 22:53, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

I am not sure how much the article has changed in 4 years, but I think this is still/again a problem. I think this can be incorporated in other articles and linked to in the related articles section, eg. Israel and the apartheid analogy#By_South_Africans. If there is too much information, and this is going to be an ongoing problem, possibly create a short stub? Bzzzzzzzzster 18:53, 12 January 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bzzzzzzzzster (talkcontribs)

I agree[edit]

This always happens because there are more writers for provokative subjects. What should the new article be named? "Desmond Tutu on the Israel/Palestine conflict". Could it be linked with other such articles? Once this is done the neutrality tag can be removed. Dejo 16:20, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

It's not good practice to "hide" the badly written or non-neutral material of an article in a sub-article. This article shouldn't be split up so soon. If Tutu's views on Israel isn't an as important topic, it should just be a modest section. —msikma (user, talk) 23:21, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
I have been adding additional information to the other sections under Tutu's political views, however the section on Israel is still out of proportion to the rest - especially if one considers that Tutu has actually spent little time campaigning for Palestine etc. Therefore I'm streamlining the section removing comments such as:

"Marv Davidov, an adjunct professor at the university's Justice and Peace Studies program, was quoted as saying "As a Jew who experienced real anti-Semitism as a child, I'm deeply disturbed that a man like Tutu could be labeled anti-Semitic and silenced like this. I deeply resent the Israeli lobby trying to silence any criticism of its policy. It does a great disservice to Israel and to all Jews."[1] The school's president, Rev. Dennis Dease, denied that a lobbying effort had been conducted against Tutu, and was quoted as saying, "I was under no pressure from any pro-Israeli groups or individuals, nor did I receive any requests from them to refrain from inviting Archbishop Tutu to speak."[2]...On October, 10, 2007, Rev. Dease reversed his decision in a letter to students and faculty". I feel that these comments do not add to the article and are unnecessary. --Cazo3788 (talk) 20:49, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

While we are talking about neutrality, I don't understand why there is a section "Protests against Tutu in the USA" in this article that serves to mitigate (or demonize, depending on how you look at it) Tutu's political activities. There aren't any similar sections in the other parts of the article (i.e. there is no section under "China" that cites any response of the PRC government towards Tutu's political activities) and if there is, does this mean we will put a counterpoint to every item in this article? Thanks. Satanstorm (talk) 16:16, 3 February 2012 (UTC)


What about an awards section in this article - he has received many other awards both in South Africa and nationally than the Nobel Peace Prize. --Cazo3788 (talk) 21:09, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

The awards section shows two entries for the Freedom of the City for Kingston upon Hull in 1989 & 1999 - is this an error as I would have only expected you could receive the Freedom of the City once. Keith D (talk) 00:24, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Have corrected this - thanks for pointing it out. --Cazo3788 (talk) 13:49, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for prompt response. Looks like you have been doing a lot of hard work on this article recently. Keith D (talk) 14:10, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Cover Volume I Issue 2.jpg[edit]

The image Image:Cover Volume I Issue 2.jpg is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
  • That this article is linked to from the image description page.

This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --04:33, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Desmond Tutu/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review. I'm planning to review Desmond Tutu. Eubulides (talk) 17:59, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

The review is not complete (many sections are still empty) but I am posting it as I go. I'll let you know when I'm finished. Eubulides (talk) 18:45, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

OK, I finished the review, which you can read below. Eubulides (talk) 08:27, 2 July 2008 (UTC)



  • As per WP:LEAD the lead should summarize the body, but the following statements in the lead do not appear to summarize anything in the body. They should be removed, or should be reworded to summarize the body, or the body should be changed to expand on them:
  • "Tutu was elected and ordained the first black South African Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, and primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa)."
  • "He is generally credited with coining the term Rainbow Nation as a metaphor for post-apartheid South Africa after 1994 under African National Congress rule."
  • "The expression has since entered mainstream consciousness to describe South Africa's ethnic diversity."
  • 'Tutu is widely regarded as "South Africa's moral conscience"'
  • 'and has been described by former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, as "sometimes strident, often tender, never afraid and seldom without humour, Desmond Tutu's voice will always be the voice of the voiceless".'
  • "uses his high profile to campaign for the oppressed"
  • "particularly in Zimbabwe, Sudan and Palestine" (particularly?)
  • "has served as the honorary chairman for the Global AIDS Alliance"
  • "the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism"
  • "the Magubela prize for liberty in 1986"
  • "the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2007" (the body doesn't give the date)
  • The phrase " by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India" is out of place in the lead. It's not that notable (who cares who gave the award? we don't list the awarders even for the Nobel). I suggest removing it from the article.

  • The prase "... high profile to campaign for the oppressed, though his consistent opposition to actions and policies pursued by Israel [...] and the United States [...] has made him controversial." seems biased by the writers standpoint on those particular issues.

Early years[edit]

  • "says Tutu". Tense problem. Should be "said Tutu".
  • "and later Tutu's mentor" This phrase isn't in its proper chronological location. Please move it to later in the section, at the proper time, to avoid foreshadowing.
  • "Mogale City" is a red link.
  • "Prime Minister Vorster" is lacking the "B.J.".
  • Stray space after "National University of Lesotho".
  • "Alternately charming and challenging them". Who's the "them"?
  • "was appointed Anglican Dean of Johannesburg". Wasn't he actually appointed Dean of St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg? You're a dean of a particular church, not of a city, right?

Personal life[edit]

  • "a teacher who had met while at college" is ungrammatical.

Tutu's role during Apartheid[edit]

  • "Apartheid" should not be capitalized in the section header.
  • Wasn't Tutu the first black Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches? If so, this should be mentioned.
  • The text doesn't make it crystal clear exactly when he became an archbishop.
  • "although it hit the poor hardest for if disinvestment" Comma needed after "hardest".
  • "Rand" should be wikilinked; non-South-African readers won't know what a Rand is.
  • "thirty thousand" → "30,000"
  • "Tutu's opposition was vigorous and unequivocal" Opposition to what? It sounded at first like it was opposition to reconciliation, which of course is not intended.
  • "Bishop Tutu" → "Tutu"
  • "Desmond Tutu" → "Tutu"
  • "former Archbishop, Philip Welsford Richmond Russell" Omit the comma.
  • "a number of" → "many"

Tutu's role since Apartheid[edit]

  • "Apartheid" should not be capitalized in the section header.
  • "Desmond Tutu" → "Tutu"
  • This section is too long and complicated and should be split up and reorganized. It is not at all clear that that some of the subheaders are appropriate for this section. For example, "Against poverty" surely applies to his views during apartheid as well as after.
  • Perhaps you can have one top-section devoted to personal history after apartheid, and another top-level section talking about his views on various subjects (church reform, HIV/AIDS, etc).

Role in South Africa[edit]

  • "Archbishop Tutu" → "Tutu" (twice)
  • This section is too long and is not clearly organized. The paragraphs seem to be isolated from one another. What's the theme here?

Chairman of The Elders[edit]

  • "Archbishop Tutu" → "Tutu"
  • "Desmond Tutu" → "Tutu"
  • Do not embolden "Desmond Tutu".

Role in the Third World[edit]

  • This section seems too long and suffers from recentism. It could easily be replaced with a briefer summary of his actions and views on Darfur, Tibet, Zimbabwe, Israel, Palestine, West Papua.

United Nations role[edit]

  • The text about his trip to the Gaza Strip really belongs next to the Israel/Palestine section. Some refactoring is needed here.


  • '"Enough is enough?".' Omit the period.
  • The citation to [1] is not formatted properly.
  • after "force if necessary" the citation is poorly formatted.


  • Rename to "Israel and Palestine"

Political views[edit]

  • I see little reason for this section header. The other sections (e.g., "Role in the Third World") are also political.

Against unilateralism[edit]

Little of this section is about unilateralism. This seems to be a section containing Tutu's criticisms of actions taken by the Bush administration. It should be labeled as such. Also, the section seems overlong and suffers from recentism.

Against HIV/AIDS and TB[edit]

  • "Archbishop Tutu" → "Tutu"
  • "everyday" → "every day"
  • "HIV/Aids" → "HIV/AIDS" (twice)

Church reform[edit]

  • "Desmond Tutu" → "Tutu"
  • "Archbishop Desmond Tutu" → "Tutu"


  • "freedom of the city" → "freedom of the city"
  • "Pacem in Terris is Latin for 'Peace on Earth'." Remove.
  • This section seems to combine major honors (the Nobel) with relatively minor ones (freedom of the city of Kingston upon Hull). Let's trim away the minor ones. He must have a boatload of honors.

Media/film appearances[edit]

This should be reworked into text that briefly describes the appearances. The list should be put on a separate list page.


Likewise. The lists should go elsewhere.

The first paragraph about the Greater Good Magazine (surely this should just be Greater Good) is weird and looks like an ad for Greater Good. Surely Tutu has published in many journals. I do like the idea of summarizing his major themes.

Further reading[edit]

No need to list Desmond Tutu: A Biography here, since it's listed as a source, in References. Generally speaking, all these sources should either be made citations, or removed, and this section should not be needed.

External links[edit]

There are way too many. See WP:LINKS. I suggest trimming down the external links to sites for Tutu's organizations: The Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation and The Elders.

Accuracy and verifiability[edit]

I verify that the catholics refer to apes as 'primates' just like the british drunkard junkies. I would recheck that one...... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:15, 8 February 2010 (UTC)


  • The lead should say Tutu is an Anglican Archbishop emeritus.
  • I'm surprised to see no coverage of Tutu's book No Future without Forgiveness. Isn't that his best-known book?
  • No mention that he graduated from the University of South Africa.
  • No mention that he has a Master of Theology degree.
  • No mention that he taught theology from 1967 to 1972.
  • No mention of the Order for Meritorious Service - Gold.
  • No mention of his campaign against South Africa's passport laws.
  • No mention of his position on civil rights (as opposed to human rights). Wasn't his early campaign more about civil rights?
  • There is too much coverage of Trevor Tutu. This should be condensed down to one or two sentences, like his other children. This is supposed to be a biography of Desmond, not of Trevor. Preferably his children should be discussed only insofar as they affect Desmond publicly.
  • The text doesn't make it clear what the rule of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was, or what role Tutu played within the Commission. This is a big deal, and should be explained here somewhat.
  • The text doesn't mention Tutu's stints at Episcopal Divinity School, Boston and the University of North Florida, Jacksonville.


Looks good.




The fair-use rationale for Image:Desmond Tutu Quilt.jpg is unconvincing. Please don't use that image. Likewise for Image:Desmond_Tutu_Portrait.jpg. Sorry, but both fair-use rationales are rationales for discussing artworks, and don't apply here.

There aren't enough images. Please see [2] for some other images you can use, or scare up some others if you can find them.


The following are direct or near-direct quotes from the source,[3] but are not in quote marks. This goes too far. Remove, reword to be a paraphrase, or put in quotes. Also, track down the edits that inserted this text, identify the editor who did it, and check all other changes made by the same editor.

  • "Tutu faced a difficult balancing act: voicing black discontent while leading a largely white parish. Alternately charming and challenging them, he appealed to their Afrikaner heritage, recalling that their forebears had endured British concentration camps. Somewhat to the bewilderment of other black leaders, he patiently courted Vorster’s successor, P. W. Botha, explaining that even Moses continued to reason with Pharaoh. But white liberals grew nervous when Tutu called for a boycott of South African products."
  • "That was the turning point: within months, Mandela was freed from prison, and apartheid was beginning to crumble."
  • "Even if disinvestment threw blacks out of work, Tutu argued, at least they would be suffering "with a purpose." And disinvestment did succeed, causing the value of the Rand to plunge and pressuring the government toward reform."

Please check for other instances of plagiarism like this, and fix everything you find. A reviewer shouldn't have to check for plagiarism in each citation.

Failed "good article" nomination[edit]

This article failed good article nomination. This is how the article, as of July 2, 2008, compares against the six good article criteria:

1. Well written?: Fail, some reorganization needed, see comments above
2. Factually accurate?: accuracy is mostly good; need to cite sources as discussed above. Some serious plagiarism problems, which must get fixed.
3. Broad in coverage?: pretty good, but some holes; see "Coverage"
4. Neutral point of view?: Pass
5. Article stability? Pass
6. Images?: Fail; see "Images" above

Whew! It's a big one to review! It's good, but not yet a Good Article. I expect more than a week will be needed to address the above issues.

When these issues are addressed, the article can be renominated. If you feel that this review is in error, feel free to take it have it reassessed. Thank you for your work so far.— Eubulides (talk) 08:27, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the really detailed review. Will start addressing the concerns above soon. --Cazo3788 (talk) 08:52, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

The Elders[edit]

No entry in WP for The Elders?? Johnalexwood (talk) 08:55, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Missing references[edit]

(404 and not in Wayback Machine)

Add link [4]?[edit]

Add link [5] ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:35, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Add "Mr. Tutu is a messenger."[3][edit]

Mr. Tutu is a messenger. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:10, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

And this is important to Mr. Tutu's article why? — Arthur Rubin (talk) 21:52, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Wrong Link?[edit]

Does the Michael Chambers link under The Elders paragraph go to correct person? It links to Michael "Boogalo Shrimp" Chambers. The latter article makes no mention of any involvement and from scanning "Boogalo Shrimp" article he seems unrelated. Tiddy (talk) 04:48, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

Add Forward author of "Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril" ISBN 978-1595340665[edit]

Add Forward author of "Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril" ISBN 978-1595340665 with authors including Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael P. Nelson. (talk) 22:33, 9 November 2010 (UTC)


Given that Tutu is a theologian, shouldn't his theological views be part of the article? -- (talk) 17:32, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Is this true?[edit]

He has called the Jews “a peculiar people” and has accused “the Jews” of causing many of the world’s problems. He has railed against “the Jewish Lobby,” comparing its power to that of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin. Tutu also said that "the Jews thought they had a monopoly of God: Jesus was angry that they could shut out other human beings." He has said that Jews have been "fighting against" and being "opposed to" his God. He has "compared the features of the ancient Holy Temple in Jerusalem to the features of the apartheid system in South Africa." He has complained that "the Jewish people with their traditions, religion and long history of persecution sometimes appear to have caused a refugee problem among others." Tutu has minimized the suffering of those murdered in the Holocaust by asserting that "the gas chambers" made for "a neater death" than did Apartheid. He has complained of "the Jewish Monopoly of the Holocaust," and has demanded that its victims must "forgive the Nazis for the Holocaust," while refusing to forgive the "Jewish people" for "persecute[ing] others."


Did Tutu say these things? The source is an RS but an editorial. I'm concerned the statements may have been taken out of context, although "Jews thought they had a monopoly of God" seems difficult to distort. The Holocaust statements don't appear to be very humbling either.

How can this be moved into the article? Clearly Tutu has specific and defined views on Jews and Judaism and I think a unique section should be made. Thoughts? Wikifan12345 (talk) 02:02, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

Do you have other references besides The Jerusalem Post? (talk) 07:01, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

Trevor Tutu[edit]

I suggest shortening the paragraph about Trevor Tutu. I'm not sure that so much detail about the bomb threat and criminal case is necessary. I suggest shortening it to 2 or 3 sentences. Totorotroll (talk) 20:51, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Dalai Lama ban[edit]

Should probably be added Tutu cusses ANC - Worst than apartheid--Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ (talk) 14:34, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

It is already mentioned but I think this part could be expanded, because he attacked the ANC goverment in a way rather proportional to the indignation he felt for not allowing the Dalai Lama to enter South Africa to attend his own 80th birthday.Mistico (talk) 19:52, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Life issues[edit]

I think most evidence shows that Desmond Tutu is generally speaking pro-life. He however finds abortion acceptable in extreme cases. This is what he said in 1994, according to the article: "In 1994, Tutu said that he approved of artificial contraception and that abortion was acceptable in a number of situations, such as incest and rape." Those with a better knowledge of his stance on the matter, could expand this part. I didn't found his exact stance on euthanasia. I believe that due to his Christian formation he would be against it, but I wasn't able to find his exact stance. He is strongly against the death penalty and is involved in the worldwide movement for his ban. This article from is own authorship shows it, "The doctrine of revenge", published in The Guardian, on 13 November 2007: [6]. I can quote directly: "For most of the 20th century the majority of the world's nations used the death penalty. But, as the millennium approached, many societies questioned whether killing their citizens through the judicial system served a positive purpose. I am delighted that the death penalty is being removed from the globe. To a Christian whose belief system is rooted in forgiveness, the death penalty is unacceptable."Mistico (talk) 20:10, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

He isn't pro-life, perhaps surprisingly or not. He supported the legalization of abortion in South Africa in 1996, without any restrictions:[7]. He claims to be pro-life, but only in the sense to be "personally against abortion". (talk) 01:20, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Same-sex unions[edit]

This is the most controversial part of his theology. While Desmond Tutu has been very supportive of the international LGBT-rights movement, I haven't found his exact words on the validity of same-sex relationships and if he supports the blessing of same-sex unions being done by his church. Some of this can be implicitly found in his words, but after an extensive search in the google, I wasn't able to find if he really believes in the religious recognition of same-sex unions. This is the question that most divides the Anglican Communion currently, so I find strange this fact.Mistico (talk) 20:27, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

poisoned tea[edit]

Desmond Tutu made a statement on domestic workers poisoning the tea of White employers. Does anyone have the exact quote? -- (talk) 21:02, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Support for euthanasia[edit]

I think this should be mentioned in the entry. He just came out in support of legal euthanasia: [8] (talk) 16:55, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

He was called a "son of the Devil" for his support for abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia: [9]. (talk) 00:01, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Matt Snyders, "Banning Desmond Tutu", City Pages (Minneapolis/St. Paul), 3 October 2007.
  2. ^ Mark B. Rotenberg, "What We Can Learn From The Tutu Affair", Minneapolis Star Tribune.
  3. ^ [