Desmond Tutu quotes

Desmond Tutu

It is our moral obligation
to give every child the very best education possible.

Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.

When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land.
They said ‘Let us pray.’
We closed our eyes.
When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

How could you have a soccer team if all were goalkeepers?
How would it be an orchestra if all were French horns?

Peace comes when you talk to the guy you most hate.
And that’s where the courage of a leader comes, because when you sit down with your enemy,
you as a leader must already have very considerable confidence from your own constituency.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

You must show the world that you abhor fighting.

If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends.
You talk to your enemies.

And every human being is precious.

I am a leader by default, only because nature does not allow a vacuum.

I think that most of us would prefer to be popular than unpopular.

Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

In South Africa, we could not have achieved our freedom and just peace without the help of people around the world, who through the use of non-violent means, such as boycotts and divestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the Apartheid regime.

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.

For goodness sake, will they hear, will white people hear what we are trying to say? Please, all we are asking you to do is to recognize that we are humans, too.

We are each made for goodness, love and compassion. Our lives are transformed as much as the world is when we live with these truths.

Many people would be surprised that, in fact, I’m quite shy.

It’s a blessing that South Africa has a man like Nelson Mandela.

The universe can take quite a while to deliver.

Universal education is not only a moral imperative but an economic necessity,
to pave the way toward making many more nations self-sufficient and self-sustaining.

When we see the face of a child, we think of the future. We think of their dreams about what they might become, and what they might accomplish.

We inhabit a universe that is characterized by diversity.

Without forgiveness, there’s no future.

In many ways, when you’re a Nobel peace laureate, you have an obligation to humankind, to society.

Inclusive, good-quality education is a foundation for dynamic and equitable societies.

The minute you got the Nobel Peace Prize, things that I said yesterday, with nobody paying too much attention, I say the same things after I got it – oh! It was quite crucial for people, and it helped our morale because apartheid did look invincible.

As human beings we have the most extraordinary capacity for evil. We can perpetrate some of the most horrendous atrocities.

Before Nelson Mandela was arrested in 1962, he was an angry, relatively young man. He founded the ANC’s military wing. When he was released, he surprised everyone because he was talking about reconciliation and forgiveness and not about revenge.

We would like to see you departing peacefully.

Those who invest in South Africa should not think they are doing us a favor; they are here for what they get out of our cheap and abundant labor, and they should know that they are buttressing one of the most vicious systems.

You stand out in the crowd only because you have these many, many carrying you on their shoulders.

God is not upset that Gandhi was not a Christian, because God is not a Christian! All of God’s children and their different faiths help us to realize the immensity of God.

When a pile of cups is tottering on the edge of the table and you warn that they will crash to the ground, in South Africa you are blamed when that happens.

All the United States, it is a society that is split like to the bottom, that had very poor people in the country that is one of the wealthiest countries.

I certainly know that I would not be able to survive if it were not for the fact that I am being upheld by the prayers of so many people.

I mean in the South African case, many of those who were part of death squads would have been respectable members of their white community, people who went to church on Sunday, every Sunday.

I’ve never doubted that apartheid – because it was of itself fundamentally, intrinsically evil – was going to bite the dust eventually.

I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid.

I wish I could shut up, but I can’t, and I won’t.

Because forgiveness is like this: a room can be dark because you have closed the windows, you’ve closed the curtains.
But the sun is shining outside, and the air is fresh outside.
In order to get that fresh air,
you have to get up and open the window and draw the curtains apart.

Children are a wonderful gift.
They have an extraordinary capacity to see into the heart of things and to expose sham and humbug for what they are.

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.

A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.

Your ordinary acts of love and hope point to the extraordinary promise that every human life is of inestimable value.