In the era of apartheid, Archbishop Desmond Tutu railed against the injustice and inhumanity of South Africa’s government, and his passionate advocacy helped make the change that came to that country in the 1990s.
Now 78, in a magenta habit with a crucifix around his neck, he is the picture of a holy man. But looking back on his boyhood in one of South Africa’s black townships, Tutu remembers an urchin with a fondness for marbles and comic books. And even in church, “we had fun,” the archbishop tells NPR’s Renee Montagne.
The memories linger even now. There’s joy in Tutu’s voice as he recalls a song he sang as a child: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” the verse asked.
“It was a fantastic thing to have much, much later,” Tutu says ”” “to remember, ‘Yes, if God be for us in our struggle against injustice and oppression, who can be against us?’ ”