Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of thought provoking quotes by Desmond Tutu on bible, family, religion, love, humanity and forgiveness.

58 Inspiring Thoughts & Quotations By Desmond Tutu, Who Endeavors To Make The World A Better Place

Quick Facts

Famous As: Anti-Apartheid Activist

Born On: October 7, 1931

Born In: Klerksdorp

Founder / Co Founder: Tutu Foundation for Development and Relief

When we speak of ‘racism’, many prominent leaders come to our mind. One such personality is Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He came under the limelight during the 1980s apartheid movement in South Africa. He was a great opponent of the Apartheid, and has been active in the defense of human rights and still fights for the rights of the oppressed. He is a recipient of Nobel Peace Prize, Gandhi Peace Prize, Sydney Peace Prize and Presidential Medal of Freedom. In his four decades of public life, Desmond Tutu has been quite vocal on several issues close to his heart. He has expressed his thoughts through his speeches, quotes, writings, columns and books, which include homosexuality and the Church, fashion, reconciliation, justice, apartheid, and sanctions. The quotes contained in his writings and speeches reflect his thoughts on these issues. Here is a selection of some of his memorable quotes on a range of topics.

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

Desmond Tutu

Don't raise your voice, improve your argument." [Address at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, Johannesburg, South Africa, 23 November 2004]

Desmond Tutu

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

Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.

Desmond Tutu

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.

Desmond Tutu

We learn from history that we don't learn from history!

Desmond Tutu

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

Like when you sit in front of a fire in winter — you are just there in front of the fire. You don't have to be smart or anything. The fire warms you.

Desmond Tutu

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

Desmond Tutu

Language is very powerful. Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes.

Desmond Tutu

Religion is like a knife: you can either use it to cut bread, or stick in someone's back.

Desmond Tutu

We are made for loving. If we don’t love, we will be like plants without water.

Desmond Tutu

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.

Desmond Tutu

Dear Child of God, I am sorry to say that suffering is not optional.

Desmond Tutu

Though wrong gratifies in the moment, good yields its gifts over a lifetime.

Desmond Tutu

There is nothing more difficult than waking someone who is only pretending to be asleep.

Desmond Tutu

Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring.

Desmond Tutu

We must be ready to learn from one another, not claiming that we alone possess all truth and that somehow we have a corner on God.

Desmond Tutu

It is through weakness and vulnerability that most of us learn empathy and compassion and discover our soul.

Desmond Tutu

A person is a person through other persons; you can't be human in isolation; you are human only in relationships.

Desmond Tutu

Our maturity will be judged by how well we are able to agree to disagree and yet continue to love one another, to care for one another, and cherish one another and seek the greater good of the other.

Desmond Tutu

Do a little bit of good wherever you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world

Desmond Tutu

Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity.

Desmond Tutu

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

Desmond Tutu

To be neutral in a situation of injustice is to have chosen sides already. It is to support the status quo.

Desmond Tutu

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

God is not a Christian.

Desmond Tutu

Life is more than breath and a heartbeat; meaning and purpose are the life of life.

Desmond Tutu

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

To forgive is not just to be altruistic.

Desmond Tutu

God is not a diversion.

Desmond Tutu

We are not responsible for what breaks us, but we can be responsible for what puts us back together again. Naming the hurt is how we begin to repair our broken parts.

Desmond Tutu

My message to the international community is that our silence and complicity especially on the situation in Gaza shames us all. It is almost like the behaviour of the military junta in Burma

Desmond Tutu

There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom

Desmond Tutu

True peace must be anchored in justice and an unwavering commitment to universal rights for all humans, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, national origin or any other identity attribute.

Desmond Tutu

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

Desmond Tutu

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

Desmond Tutu

When your dreams turn to dust, vacuum.

Desmond Tutu

Renewing a relationship is a creative act. We make a new relationship. It is possible to build a new relationship regardless of the realities of the old relationship.

Desmond Tutu

One of the most blasphemous consequences of injustice, especially racist injustice, is that it can make a child of God doubt that he or she is a child of God.

Desmond Tutu

People are not born hating each other and wishing to cause harm. It is a learned condition.

Desmond Tutu

We are always at our best when compassion enables us to recognize the unique pressures and singular stories of the people on the other side of our conflicts.

Desmond Tutu

To treat anyone as if they were less than human, less than a brother or a sister, no matter what they have done, is to contravene the very laws of our humanity.

Desmond Tutu

Healing means that our dignity is restored and we are able to move forward in our lives.

Desmond Tutu

We shall be free only together, black and white. We shall survive only together, black and white. We can be human only together, black and white.

Desmond Tutu

There is a certain kind of dignity we admire, and to which we aspire, in the person who refuses to meet anger with anger, violence with violence, or hatred with hatred.

Desmond Tutu

Do not heal in isolation. Connecting with others is how we develop compassion for others and for ourselves.

Desmond Tutu

In our own ways, we are all broken. Out of that brokenness, we hurt others. Forgiveness is the journey we take toward healing the broken parts. It is how we become whole again.

Desmond Tutu

In the sentiment of Mahatma Gandhi, when we practice the law of an eye for an eye, we all end up blind.

Desmond Tutu

I would like to share with you two simple truths: there is nothing that cannot be forgiven, and there is no one un-deserving of forgiveness.

Desmond Tutu

The quality of human life on our planet is nothing more than the sum total of our daily interactions with one another. Each time we help, and each time we harm, we have a dramatic impact on our world.

Desmond Tutu

Without forgiveness, there's no future.

Desmond Tutu

Order to truly forgive oneself, one must either explicitly or implicitly acknowledge that one’s behavior was wrong and accept responsibility or blame for such behavior.

Desmond Tutu

My first point seems overwhelmingly simple: that the accidents of birth and geography determine to a very large extent to what faith we belong.

Desmond Tutu

It is small comfort to a mouse, if an elephant is standing on its tail, to say 'I am impartial.' In this instance, you are really supporting the elephant in its cruelty.

Desmond Tutu

Somewhere deep inside us we seem to know that we are destined for something better than strife.

Desmond Tutu

It is true that when we harm others, we harm ourselves; but it is just as true that when we help others, we also help ourselves.

Desmond Tutu

Forgiveness is nothing less than the way we heal the world. We heal the world by healing each and every one of our hearts. The process is simple, but it is not easy.

Desmond Tutu