Desmond Tutu - A Spiritual Biography Of South Africa's Confessor (Paperback)


The first biography of its kind about Desmond Tutu (with a foreword by the Dalai Lama and an afterword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu himself), this book introduces readers to Tutu’s spiritual life, his prayer life and his spiritual practices and examines how it shaped his commitment to restorative justice and reconciliation. It also shows how a living legend’s life can guide us during these times.

Desmond Tutu was a pivotal leader of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and remains a beloved and important emblem of peace and justice around the world. Even those who do not know the major events of Tutu’s life—receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, serving as the first black archbishop of Cape Town and primate of Southern Africa from 1986−1996, and chairing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 1995−1998—recognize him as a charismatic political and religious leader who helped lay the foundations for a country ravaged by dehumanizing policies and practices by those who called themselves “Christian”. This book shows how the inner landscape of Tutu’s spirituality, the mystical grounding that spurred his outward accomplishments, often goes unseen.

Rather than recount his entire life story, this book explores Tutu’s spiritual life and contemplative practices—particularly Tutu’s understanding of Ubuntu theology, which emphasizes finding one’s identity and wholeness in community—and traces the powerful role they played in subverting the theological and spiritual underpinnings of colonialism and apartheid. Michael Battle’s personal relationship with Tutu grants readers an inside view of how Tutu’s spiritual agency cast a vision that both upheld the demands of justice and created a space of grace to synthesize the stark differences of a diverse society and help South Africans build a new community, new “samehorigheid”, and “Ubuntu”.


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The first biography of its kind about Desmond Tutu (with a foreword by the Dalai Lama and an afterword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu himself), this book introduces readers to Tutu’s spiritual life, his prayer life and his spiritual practices and examines how it shaped his commitment to restorative justice and reconciliation. It also shows how a living legend’s life can guide us during these times.

Desmond Tutu was a pivotal leader of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and remains a beloved and important emblem of peace and justice around the world. Even those who do not know the major events of Tutu’s life—receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, serving as the first black archbishop of Cape Town and primate of Southern Africa from 1986−1996, and chairing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 1995−1998—recognize him as a charismatic political and religious leader who helped lay the foundations for a country ravaged by dehumanizing policies and practices by those who called themselves “Christian”. This book shows how the inner landscape of Tutu’s spirituality, the mystical grounding that spurred his outward accomplishments, often goes unseen.

Rather than recount his entire life story, this book explores Tutu’s spiritual life and contemplative practices—particularly Tutu’s understanding of Ubuntu theology, which emphasizes finding one’s identity and wholeness in community—and traces the powerful role they played in subverting the theological and spiritual underpinnings of colonialism and apartheid. Michael Battle’s personal relationship with Tutu grants readers an inside view of how Tutu’s spiritual agency cast a vision that both upheld the demands of justice and created a space of grace to synthesize the stark differences of a diverse society and help South Africans build a new community, new “samehorigheid”, and “Ubuntu”.

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