Social Justice

Exploring the Spiritual Leadership and Life of Archbishop Desmond Tutu

December 10, 2021

The Very Rev. Dr. Michael Battle welcomed Thandeka Tutu to Trinity Church Wall Street for an exploration of the spiritual leadership and life of her father, Archbishop-Emeritus Desmond Tutu, including a discussion of Dr. Battle’s latest book Desmond Tutu: A Spiritual Autobiography of South Africa’s Confessor.

Michael Battle Book Cover
Westminster John Knox Press

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was a Nobel Peace Prize winner and one of the most recognizable figures of the late 20th century. The world knows him as the most visible leader in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. What many people do not know about the man known as “the Arch” is the theological foundation that supports all he accomplished in his life and the deep and consistent rhythm of prayer that undergirded him on a daily basis.

The Very Rev. Dr. Michael Battle has spent the past 27 years writing a book that describes these little-known qualities of Archbishop Tutu. That book, Desmond Tutu: A Spiritual Biography of South Africa’s Confessor was discussed at Trinity Church on December 10, 2021 when Michael Battle welcomed Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe for a conversation about her father and the spiritual legacy he offered through his leadership as a gift to the world.

Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe

Thandeka Tutu Head Shot
Courtesy: Thandeka Tutu

Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe, MPH is the CEO of the Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign Centre (DTTCC), a charitable educational organization which addresses the 95 million desk shortage in sub-Saharan Africa. DTTCC aims to provide 20 million environmentally friendly, portable desks to schools in Africa by 2025. DTTCC the lives of African children, their communities, countries and makes Africa a more globally competitive continent through improved literacy and education.
Thandeka has been educated and worked in the UK, Swaziland, Botswana and the USA. She is passionate about education and public health, especially the fight against HIV/AIDS, and improving the health and education experiences of young people, thus promoting global peace and justice. While completing her Masters of Public Health at Emory University, Thandeka received several fellowships including from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Cancer Society, the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, the South East AIDS Training Center & the Dekalb County Board of Health.

Michael Battle Head Shot
Courtesy: Michael Battle

Michael Battle

Currently appointed as Herbert Thompson Professor of Church and Society and Director of the Desmond Tutu Center at General Theological Seminary in New York, the Very Rev. Michael Battle, Ph.D. has an undergraduate degree from Duke University, a master’s of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, a master’s of Sacred Theology from Yale University, and a PhD in theology and ethics, also from Duke University. He was ordained a priest by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1993.

Battle has published eleven books, including his latest, Desmond Tutu: A Spiritual Biography of South Africa’s Confessor. You can learn more about his academic, parish, and peace work at his website,

Social Justice, Featured