31 Mind Blowing Desmond Tutu Quotes

Desmond Tutu is a South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop. He rose to fame across the world during the 1980’s, as an opponent of apartheid.

He was the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and bishop of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa.

I’ve just picked up Desmond Tutu & the Dalai Lama‘s new book, ‘The Book of Joy’ as a Christmas present, and can’t wait to get stuck in!

Here’s a collection of the best Desmond Tutu quotes:


31 Mind Blowing Desmond Tutu Quotes

1. “If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” – Desmond Tutu

2. “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” – Desmond Tutu

3. “Without forgiveness, there is no future.” – Desmond Tutu

4. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”Desmond Tutu

5. “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu

6. “Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.” – Desmond Tutu

7. “My father used to say, don’t raise your voice; improve your argument.” – Desmond Tutu

8. “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human.” – Desmond Tutu

9. “You don’t choose your family, they are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” – Desmond Tutu


10th of 31 Desmond Tutu Quotes

10. “We learn from history that we don’t learn from history!” – Desmond Tutu


11. “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

12. “Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.” – Desmond Tutu

13. “Freedom and liberty lose out by default because good people are not vigilant.” – Desmond Tutu

14. “A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.” – Desmond Tutu

15. “We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low.” – Desmond Tutu

16. “Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity.” – Desmond Tutu

17. “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

18. “I am a leader by default, only because nature does not allow a vacuum.” – Desmond Tutu

19. “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.” – Desmond Tutu


20th of 31 Desmond Tutu Quotes

20. “Your ordinary acts of love and hope point to the extraordinary promise that every human life is of inestimable value.” – Desmond Tutu


21. “I wish I could shut up, but I can’t, and I won’t.” – Desmond Tutu

22. “Because forgiveness is like this: a room can be dank 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.” – Desmond Tutu

23. “Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.” – Desmond Tutu

24. “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.” – Desmond Tutu

25. “As human beings we have the most extraordinary capacity for evil. We can perpetrate some of the most horrendous atrocities.” – Desmond Tutu

26. “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.” – Desmond Tutu

27. “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.” – Desmond Tutu

28. “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


29th of 31 Desmond Tutu Quotes

29. “I think that most of us would prefer to be popular than unpopular.” – Desmond Tutu


30. “You stand out in the crowd only because you have these many, many carrying you on their shoulders.” – Desmond Tutu

31. “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.” – Desmond Tutu



Thanks for checking out these amazing Desmond Tutu quotes! Don’t forget to take a look at our similar collection of Dalai Lama quotes.

Which were your favorite Desmond Tutu quotes? Leave a comment below.

You May Also Like