Tutu Authorized

Article excerpt

Tutu Authorized. Allister Sparks and Mpho Tutu. Forward by Bono. Introduction by the Fourteenth Dali Lama. (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2011, Pp. xii, 353. $29.99.)

Allister Sparks is a leading South African journalist, a fifth generation South Africaner, who covered the long story of apartheid and independence as editor of die Rand Daily Mail and correspondent for The Washington Post and The Economist. Mpho Tutu, the daughter of Desmond Tutu, is an Episcopal priest, presendy executive director of die Tutu Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage. In die preparation of this commemorative volume for die archbishop's eightiedi birthday tiiey were assisted by the skilled writer-editor Doug Abrams, who has worked with Tutu on God Has a Dream, and several children's books.

The present volume contains the best collection of Tutu photographs anywhere, a remarkable visual archive on the life of the Nobel Prize winning cleric's life and achievements in South Africa and elsewhere. Much of die narrative is by Sparks, who brings both a longtime personal knowledge of Tutu with the unique perspective of having covered South African politics for over half a century. The volume adroidy balances die public and more private spiritual aspects of one of the leading moral figures of this or any time. It is an accessible work, an excellent introduction to those who are looking at the archbishop and his times for the first time, and for those who follow the endlessly fascinating South African story.

The book does a lively job of conveying Tutu's restiess energy, darting eyes, and resonant voice, as able to stir large audiences as it is for die pipe organ roll of his belly laugh. His combination of oratory in the African storyteller tradition and deep sense of humor are Tutu trademarks. Less well known, but equally important, is his deep spiritual grounding. He is a person who prays silently each day, sometimes for several hours. His humor also comes through in the narrative. At his Johannesburg consecration in 1976, he entered the pulpit of St. Mary's Cathedral and said, "In our hotel this morning Leah said, 'I've woken up in bed with a bishop'" (84). …