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June 25, 2019

Formative years in S. Africa shaped MLK Symposium keynote speaker

January 11, 2016

Formative years in S. Africa shaped MLK Symposium keynote speaker

Special section

Topic: Campus News

The challenges of growing up black and female in apartheid South Africa shaped the life of human rights activist and educator Nontombi Naomi Tutu.

Tutu, the third daughter of renowned South African social rights activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, will present the 30th annual MLK Symposium Keynote Memorial Lecture. It is at 10 a.m. Jan. 18 at Hill Auditorium.

Her professional experience ranges from development consultant work in West Africa to coordinating programs to deal with race and gender issues at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town.

Nontombi Naomi Tutu

While born in South Africa, Tutu was educated in Swaziland, the United States and England. She has divided her adult life between South Africa and the U.S.

Tutu has taught at the University of Hartford, University of Connecticut and Brevard College in North Carolina. She served as program coordinator for the historic Race Relations Institute at Fisk University, and was part of its delegation to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban.

Tutu began her public speaking as a college student at Berea College in Kentucky in the 1970s, talking about her experiences growing up in South Africa. She has become a sought-after speaker to groups as varied as business associations, professional conferences, elected officials, and church and civic organizations. She has raised her voice as a champion for the dignity of all and as an activist for human rights.

Tutu also has established Nozizwe Consulting. Nozizwe means "Mother of Many Lands" in Xhosa, one of the official languages of South Africa. Tutu has led truth and reconciliation workshops for groups dealing with different types of conflict. She also offers educational and partnership trips to South Africa for varied groups.

Tutu plans to pursue a master’s degree in divinity. She is the single mother of two daughters and a son.