Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A | the Rev. Mpho A. Tutu

Rev. Mpho Tutu says working with her famous father Desmond Tutu was easy

As part of its Plight and Promise of Africa Initiative, Eckerd College will host the Rev. Mpho A. Tutu at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Fox Hall.

Tutu, 46, is an Episcopal priest who was ordained by her father, Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, in 2004. She also is founder and executive director of the Tutu Institute for Prayer & Pilgrimage based in Alexandria, Va.

This year, father and daughter released the inspirational book Made for Goodness: And Why This Makes All the Difference. The collaborative effort discusses their faith-based belief in the goodness of human nature. We caught up with the author last week by phone from her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, journalist Joseph Burris, and their two daughters, Nyaniso, 14, and Onalenna, 4.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call (727) 867-1166.

When you agreed to write a book with your father, did you expect that you'd rely more on your experiences growing up in Africa or did you expect your life here in the United States would come into play?

I think first we wanted to approach it more on a worldwide level. At least, I think that's the case. But, it is true, I do live here in the U.S., and I hear the current issues and the manner in which they are discussed on the American airwaves. So the true answer is even though it is not overt, speaking back to some of what I have heard promulgated in American Christianity, the book holds my experiences of where I live now. This is what I am seeing now. And this is shaping and forming me.

When you two wrote the book, how did you share the workload?

Initially the plan was that he would think and I would write, and that shifted a little in the process of writing. We had conversations in what we wanted to say, and I'd be the one to transcribe the conversations. We went back and forth with the writing after that, but for the most part, I'd do the first draft, and he'd do changes and edits.

Was it a difficult process?

He was in South Africa for much of the time, but it was actually an easy process. At first, we spent time in person discussing it, and then once we were in the midst of it, we'd work things out by e-mail or Skype so that by the time stuff ended up on the page we were in agreement on everything. We did send many edits back and forth, though. I don't know how writers collaborated before e-mail.

When you told your father that you wanted to be ordained, was he surprised?

I don't know if he was surprised, but it wasn't something he had ever broached or approached with me. Certainly, he was happy. People who know him now tell me how happy and proud he was when I did this.

I understand you made an appearance Nov. 9 at the National Press Club Book Fair in Washington, D.C. How'd it go?

I felt quite happy with it. We sold out of books, and that was very cool. I didn't get much of a chance to walk around much, but one of the things that was interesting to me was that it tended to be more of an affluent book-buying public. It was interesting to see a) How few people of color were there both as authors and buyers and b) It made me think about how old both the writing and the reading public is. So, I was interested in how little diversity there was, but again, maybe the younger, more diverse readers and writers are getting information through other mediums.

Rev. Mpho Tutu says working with her famous father Desmond Tutu was easy 11/16/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 12:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.