Call for Contributions – DESMOND TUTU 90th Birthday

1 March 2021

Invitation to Contribute to a Book                                                                  Celebrating the Life and Legacy of                                                                Desmond Tutu                                                                                                            on the occasion of his 90th Birthday – 7 October 2021

Working Title: Ecumenical Encounters with Desmond Mpilo Tutu – Visions for Justice, Dignity and Peace


Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu, “the Arch”  as he is fondly known in South Africa, ordained as an Anglican priest in 1960, and a global icon who has worked tirelessly in the pursuit of justice, peace and dignity, is turning 90 on 7 October 2021. His significant contributions in the areas of theology, ethics, politics, and African and Global ecumenism are celebrated the world over, but the latter is particularly acknowledged in Germany and South Africa, through Archbishop Tutu’s involvement with the World Council of Churches, the All Africa Council of Churches, the South African Council of Churches, and many other ecumenical bodies.

It is for this reason that a few key scholars and theologians working in Germany and South Africa, thought it apt to amplify the celebration of this eminent global ecumenical leader, through a collection of creative and critical contributions which commemorates his life and work. While the editorial collective is based in South Africa and Germany, the contributions are not restricted to these countries, and are international in scope.


The purpose of the book is to showcase reflections on the intersections of ecumenism and social justice, as constituted in the life and work of Desmond Tutu.

We conceptualise ecumenism beyond the unity of churches for the end-goals of peace and justice, to also broadly include unity of multiple faith traditions towards these goals. Desmond Tutu’s life and work has shaped not just the contours of ethical ecumenical encounters between churches, but indeed an ethical landscape of multiple faith traditions. The Nobel Laureate’s book “God is not a Christian and other Provocations” bears testament to his commitment to collegial collaboration and deeply engaged and robust engagement with various faith traditions.

He has influenced generations of theologians, scholars, people of all faiths, and people with no faith. It is envisaged that the book will offer the perspectives and stories of those whose personal and academic encounter with “the Arch” has shaped their ongoing faith-based, activist and academic pursuits for justice and peace. The book is meant to be a memorial recollection of encounters with the Arch, rather than an academic festschrift. As such, invitations to contribute are being sent to °friends, °former colleagues, °companions, or simply °admirers of the Arch’s work. The idea is to look back in gratitude and to recollect some memories and essential dimensions of theological, religious, ethical, political or social aspects which marked the work of Desmond Tutu as significant for contemporary struggles towards social justice.


Anyone familiar with his outstanding contributions to the promotion of justice and peace, will know that a hallmark of Desmond Tutu’s celebrated style was his use of narrative and real-life stories. In honour of his unique and remarkable example, the inputs in this book will combine oral history and written history approaches that are inspired by the style of the Arch. Contributions which are narrative, creative, artistic, imaginative, innovative and inspiring, are especially welcome.

Possible Themes

While the overall focus of the book is on the intersections between ecumenism, faith and social justice, there is freedom to explore a range of themes within this broad focus. These are some suggested themes for submissions which comprise several of the key areas in which the Archbishop has made meaningful contributions over the years: Economy, Ecology, Gender, Race, Sexuality, Religious Pluralism; Health and well-being, Theological Education and Social Justice Pedagogies, Reconciliation, Development, and Spirituality.


We invite submissions which focus on the intersections of ecumenism and social justice, in the following formats:

– Short critical reflective essays (2000-3,000 words)

– Poems or Praise songs of any length

– Prayers

– Photo-essays (Only pictures that can be printed in black and white can be accepted)

While the formats for the contributions are fairly open, explicit references to encounters with the Arch personally, or with the Arch’s work, should be made as a motivation for the contribution.


We are working on a very tight schedule due to pandemic delays. It is imperative that we abide by the timelines strictly. If the book is to be made available in October 2021 at the occasion of the 90th birthday celebration, then quite an ambitious and tight working schedule is required. Once a writing commitment is made, authors will have 3 months to work on their submissions:

1 March Call for Contributions to prospective authors
20 March Prospective authors to confirm participation
1 June Final date for submission of contribution to editors
15 July Final date for correspondence with Authors
30 July Final author submissions post editorial review
30 August Final manuscript submitted to publisher
7 October Book launch just prior or coinciding with Peace Lecture


There are plans to publish the book internationally, in the UK as well as in South Africa. It should possibly be available for the occasion of the International Peace Lecture on October 7th, 2021 in Cape Town. As an international publishing partner, Regnum Books, Oxford in the UK, is suggested. Its publications are also co-published with Fortress Press in the US. Regnum Books, Oxford has a track record in terms of international outreach and marketing, it can also collaborate with another publishing partner in South Africa – and being proposed, but not confirmed yet, is the possibility of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) Press.


If you are able to accept this invitation and make a contribution, please complete the  author-commitment-form and return to the Tutu Book Project Assistant: Rhine Toby Koloti at the following email address:

We look forward to receiving your contributions

Warm Regards,



1. OKR Rev Dr. Rudolf Hinz Former Head of Africa Desk in EKD and former Director of LWF World Service
2. Prof. Dr. Sarojini Nadar Desmond Tutu Chair in Religion and Social Justice, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town
3. Prof. Dr. Tinyiko Maluleke Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, University of Pretoria
4. Revd Canon Dr Vicentia Refiloe Kgabe Rector and Principal, College of Transfiguration (CoT), Grahamstown, South Africa
5. Prof. Dr. Dietrich Werner Senior Theological Advisor, Bread for the World, Berlin, former Head of Theological Education Program at World Council of Churches

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