South African religious leader. Educated in South Africa and London and ordained in 1961, he became (1975) the first black Anglican dean of Johannesburg. As general secretary of the South African Council of Churches (1978–84) he was an outspoken campaigner against apartheid and was awarded (1984) the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent advocacy of reform. He was the first black elected (1986) archbishop of Cape Town (the Anglican primate of South Africa), serving until 1996. Tutu has remained active in South Africa's political affairs and headed (1996–2003) the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was responsible for investigating human-rights abuses during the apartheid era.
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