Tutu House

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tutu House
Tata to Tutu.jpg
The Tutu House
General information
AddressVilakazi Street
Town or citySoweto, Johannesburg
CountrySouth Africa

The Tutu House is a house on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa that belongs to Desmond Tutu and his family. The house is registered as part of Johannesburg's historical heritage.


Desmond Tutu and his family moved into this house in 1975.[1] Vilakazi Street is said to be the only street in the world where two Nobel Laureates have lived.[2] During the time that Tutu lived here he became a Nobel Laureate for his struggles against Apartheid and he led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for President Nelson Mandela.[1]

Tutu did not need to live here, as he had been offered the dean's residence in the rich white suburb of Houghton, but Tutu was keen not to be seen as an "honorary white" so he lived twelve miles from the centre of the city. Conditions were poor in Soweto, which was the largest urban development in South Africa with over a million inhabitants but only one public telephone for every 26,000 inhabitants. Only 15% had electricity and 75% did not have running water when they first moved in. Black Africans were not allowed to own homes in Soweto as they were meant to see themselves as temporary workers.[3]

Plaque unveiled by the Bishop in 2011

The house was extended by Jo Noero in 1990, the same architect who had worked at the Anglican Church in the Transvaal.[2]

Tutu was still living there in October 2011.[1] A blue plaque was installed on the Tutu house in 2011 as part of the Johannesburg heritage trail by what was then called the Simon van de Stel Foundation.[1] Vilahazi Street attracts thousands of tourists since Mandela House was opened to the public in 1997, quickly becoming a top-twenty tourist destination.[4] Tutu House is not open to the public, but the street does have several shops and restaurants.[5] [6]


  1. ^ a b c d "Tutu House". blueplaques.co.za. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Tutu House gets plaque - 18 Oct 2011". joburg.org.za. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  3. ^ Gish, Steven D. (2004). Desmond Tutu : a biography (1. publ. ed.). Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press. p. 59. ISBN 0313328609.
  4. ^ Fisher, Ian (1999-09-24). "Soweto Journal; Where Apartheid Ruled, Tourists Are Swarming". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
  5. ^ "Vilakazi Street under siege - by snakes". Daily Star. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  6. ^ leyo vega

Coordinates: 26°14′21.43″S 27°54′36.63″E / 26.2392861°S 27.9101750°E / -26.2392861; 27.9101750