Time Line Chronology
of Desmond Tutu and
Apartheid in South Africa

1931 October 7 - Desmond Mpilo Tutu is born at Klerksdorp, 120 miles (193 km) from Johannesburg.

1936 Blacks' right to vote is abolished.

1917 Tutu is hospitalized with tuberculosis and becomes friends with Father Trevor Huddleston.

1948 The National Party wins the general election on an apartheid platform. The Group Areas Act and Population Registration Act are passed, beginning "grand apartheid".

1952 The ANC's Defiance Campaign raises its membership from seven thousand to one hundred thousand. The government begins issuing Banning Orders.

1954 Tutu receives his teacher's diploma.

1955 The Bantu Education Act is passed, outlawing math and science instruction to Blacks.
July 2 - Desmond Tutu marries Leah Nomalizo Shenxane.

1958 Tutu enters St. Peter's Theological College to begin religious training.

1959 Eight Bantustans, or "homelands," are set up by the government. Millions of Blacks are forced from their homes to live in distant areas.

1960 British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan delivers his "Wind of Change" speech to the South African Parliament.

March 21 - The Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) assembles five thousand Blacks in the Sharpeville township to protest peacefully against Pass Laws. Police open fire into the crowd, killing sixty-nine and wounding 180. Tutu is ordained a deacon in the Anglican Church.

1961 Nelson Mandela forms Umkhonto we Sizwe, a military wing of the ANC, to sabotage government targets. Tutu is ordained a priest.

1962 Nelson Mandela is arrested and later sentenced to life in prison. September - Tutu goes to London to study theology at King's College.

1968 Tutu returns to South Africa to teach at St. Peter's College, Alice. While there, Black students are brutalized by police during a peaceful demonstration. The incident is a turning point for Tutu. The Black Consciousness movement is founded by Steven Biko.

1970 Tutu begins his duties as lecturer at the University of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland.

1972 Tutu becomes Associate Director of the Theological Education Fund in London, England.

1975 Tutu becomes Dean of Johannesburg. The Minister of Bantu Education decrees that arithmetic and social studies may be taught in black schools, but only in the Afrikaans language.

1976 Tutu writes to Prime Minister Vorster warning of the violence that will happen if oppression continues. June 16 - A peaceful demonstration by black schoolchildren in Soweto is fired on by police. Rioting erupts in black townships in protest. July - Tutu is consecrated Bishop of Lesotho.

1977 September 12 - Steven Biko dies in police custody. World protest erupts against apartheid. Tutu delivers the funeral oration.

1978 Tutu becomes General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. P.W. Botha becomes Prime Minister.

1979 Tutu calls for economic sanctions against the South African government on Danish television.

1983 Prime Minister Botha calls for a referendum on a new parliament that will include Whites, "Indians," and "Coloureds," but not Blacks. Only Whites may vote on it.

1984 Blacks begin killing other Blacks for suspected collaboration with their white oppressors. December - Tutu receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.

1985 February 3 - Tutu is enthroned as Bishop of Johannesburg.

1986 April - Tutu is elected Archbishop of Cape Town, head of the Anglican Church in South Africa. June - P.W. Botha, president under the new constitution, declares a state of emergency to deal with black unrest.

 1988 Botha bans all remaining anti-apartheid groups to appease neo-Nazi groups. Police are given unlimited powers of arrest. August - The Trade Union Building in Johannesburg, headquarters of Tutu and anti-apartheid groups, is destroyed by a bomb.


This is provided as information to use in constructing a time line.

Winner, David ( 1989). People Who Have Helped the World. Desmond Tutu. Milwaukee. Wl. Gareth Stevens Publishing.

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