Skip to main content

South Africa's Desmond Tutu wins $1 million prize

By Faith Karimi, CNN
updated 10:38 AM EDT, Thu October 4, 2012
Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks with Aung San Suu Kyi via satellite in New York City on September 21, 2011.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks with Aung San Suu Kyi via satellite in New York City on September 21, 2011.
  • Tutu has been outspoken on issues affecting the African continent and beyond
  • The Nobel laureate has called for arrests of Tony Blair, George W. Bush for the 2003 Iraq War
  • "Tutu is ... one of Africa's great voices for justice," foundation says

(CNN) -- A billionaire's foundation announced Thursday a one-off $1 million award to South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu for "his lifelong commitment to speaking truth to power."

The foundation, which promotes good governance in the continent, was established by Sudan-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim.

An anti-apartheid leader and Nobel laureate, Tutu is an outspoken critic on issues affecting the continent and beyond.

"Tutu is and has throughout his life been one of Africa's great voices for justice, freedom, democracy and responsible, responsive government," the Mo Ibrahim Foundation said in a statement. "In everything he stands for, says and does, he displays a consistent determination to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak the uncomfortable truth."

'The Elders' seek action in Sudan
Tutu: A voice for freedom

Last month, Tutu reiterated his calls that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. President George W. Bush should be "made to answer" at the International Criminal Court for initiating the 2003 Iraq War.

At the time, the two leaders cited Iraq's ambitions to develop weapons of mass destruction as reasons for the war. No significant caches of chemical or biological weapons were found after the invasion.

Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, and later chaired South Africa's reconciliation commission to examine apartheid-era crimes.

The London-based foundation also awards an annual $5 million prize to a former African head of state who practices good governance.

Only a handful of leaders, including former South African President Nelson Mandela, have won the good governance award since it was launched in 2007. The foundation did not award the prize on certain years, saying there were no qualified candidates.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.