Nobel Peace Prize recipient Bishop Desmond Tutu is an activist who advocates for togetherness and against oppression. Our curated Desmond Tutu quotes will inspire you to unite with and appreciate the wonderful people around you.
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Born in Klerksdorp, a large town in South Africa, Bishop Desmond Tutu began to study theology after he was ordained as a priest in the 1960s.
Merriam-Webster defines theology as “the study of religious faith, practice, and experience.” Tutu became well-known throughout South Africa as an activist who spoke out against South Africa’s apartheid, worldwide. In 1984, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts against apartheid.
For more inspiration from his incredible mind, take a look below.
Don’t forget to also check out these Nelson Mandela quotes on forgiveness and freedom.
Insightful Desmond Tutu quotes
1. “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu
2. “There is nothing more difficult than waking someone who is only pretending to be asleep.” – Desmond Tutu
3. “I’m coming to believe more and more in the truth that everything we do has consequences. a good deed doesn’t just evaporate and disappear.” – Desmond Tutu
4. “Forgiveness does not mean condoning what has been done. Forgiving means abandoning your right to pay back the perpetrator in his own coin.” – Desmond Tutu
5. “Your ordinary acts of hope and love point to the extraordinary promise that every human life is of inestimable value.” – Desmond Tutu
6. “The universe can take quite a while to deliver.” – Desmond Tutu
7. “I wish I could shut up, but I can’t, and I won’t.” – Desmond Tutu
8. “Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.” – Desmond Tutu
9. “We are made for loving. If we don’t love, we will be like plants without water.” – Desmond Tutu
10. “Ultimately our greatest joy is when we seek to do good for others.” – Desmond Tutu
11. “Without forgiveness, there’s no future.” – Desmond Tutu
12. “If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” – Desmond Tutu
13. “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” – Desmond Tutu
14. “My father used to say, don’t raise your voice; improve your argument.” – Desmond Tutu
15. “The pressure to succeed has a lot to do with why people overstep the line. It is a peculiar weakness of western culture where we have made a fetish of success.” – Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu quotes about diversity
16. “We inhabit a universe that is characterized by diversity.” – Desmond Tutu
17. “Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.” – Desmond Tutu
18. “How could you have a soccer team if all were goalkeepers? How would it be an orchestra if all were French horns?” – Desmond Tutu
19. “For Christians, who believe they are created in the image of God, it is the Godhead, diversity in unity and the three-in-oneness of God, which we and all creation reflect.” – Desmond Tutu
20. “Isn’t it amazing that we are all made in God’s image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people?” – Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu quotes about humanity and society
21. “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” – Desmond Tutu
22. “A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.” – Desmond Tutu
23. “Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity.” – Desmond Tutu
24. “You must show the world that you abhor fighting.” – Desmond Tutu
25. “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.” – Desmond Tutu
26. “I think that most of us would prefer to be popular than unpopular.” – Desmond Tutu
27. “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.” – Desmond Tutu
28. “You stand out in the crowd only because you have these many, many carrying you on their shoulders.” – Desmond Tutu
29. “In many ways, when you’re a Nobel peace laureate, you have an obligation to humankind, to society.” – Desmond Tutu
30. “As human beings we have the most extraordinary capacity for evil. We can perpetrate some of the most horrendous atrocities.” – Desmond Tutu
31. “Inclusive, good -quality education is a foundation for dynamic and equitable societies.” – Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu quotes about human rights and oppression
32. “When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.” – Desmond Tutu
33. “It is by standing up for the rights of girls and women that we measure up as men.” – Desmond Tutu
34. “I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.” – Desmond Tutu
35. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu
36. “In the land of my birth I cannot vote, whereas a young person of eighteen can vote. And why? Because he or she possesses that wonderful biological attribute – a white skin.” – Desmond Tutu
37. “What is black empowerment when it seems to benefit not the vast majority but an elite that tends to be recycled?” – Desmond Tutu
38. “It means a great deal to those who are oppressed to know that they are not alone.” – Desmond Tutu
39. “Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.” – Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu quotes about religion
40. “God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.” – Desmond Tutu
41. “In God’s family, there are no outsiders, no enemies.” – Desmond Tutu
42. “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.” – Desmond Tutu
43. “God’s love is too great to be confined to any one side of a conflict or to any one religion.” – Desmond Tutu
44. “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” – Desmond Tutu
45. “But God can only smile because only God can know what is coming next.” – Desmond Tutu
46. “God is patient with us to become the God’s children he wants us to be but you really can see him weeping.” – Desmond Tutu
47. “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.” – Desmond Tutu
48. “Hate has no place in the house of God.” – Desmond Tutu
49. “People often speak of God being even-handed. God is not even-handed. God is biased, in favor of the weak, of the despised.” – Desmond Tutu
50. “The God who existed before any religion counts on you to make the oneness of the human family known and celebrated.” – Desmond Tutu
What is the beauty of diversity to you?
In the face of South Africa’s horrific apartheid, Bishop Desmond Tutu emphasized the importance of equality and togetherness. Accompanied by Tutu’s extensive knowledge as a theologist, his words connected with millions across South Africa, if not the world. His impact is often compared to other prominent black activists such as Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr.
The main theme weaving through Bishop Desmond Tutu’s views is that we are stronger together than we are apart. The moment we begin to accept the beauty of diversity within our society is the moment that we can begin to make real change.
Is there a quote from Bishop Desmond Tutu that you connected with deeply? Are you planning on sharing it with a loved one? Let us know your thoughts!