February 22, 2014 Editor

WN: Desmond Mpilo Tutu, New York: Doubleday, 1999, 294 pp.

I wrote this review several years ago.  Some felt I was too “harsh” about the “lacuna” of Tutu’s not having addressed American imperialism as worldwide apartheid.  That it is such is not in doubt.  That for instance Martin Luther King Jr. addressed it and was consequently executed by the USA is compelling in this regard (see An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King).  The book is nonetheless a classic.

An excerpt:

Bishop Tutu was anticipating an early retirement, at least from the activism against apartheid that had characterized his work for 20 years. It was not to be. In December 1995, he was assigned by his church to the newly formed Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), and then by President Mandela appointed chairperson. He remained so for nearly three years, when the Commission handed in its final report.

This publication is his reflection on that experience. “Reflection” is the appropriate word. More than an account of the events, people, and decisions of the Commission, the book is a personal memoir that will be an enduring classic. There are eleven chapters and a postscript. The prose is unadorned, the style elegant, and the sentiment throughout compassionate.

Please click on: No Future Without Forgiveness

Genre: Human RIghts, Restorative Justice, South African apartheid
Subjects: forgiveness, Restorative Justice, Theology, Ubuntu


Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

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Wayne Northey

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