Black Star Inspiration: Desmond Tutu - Bôhten Eyewear

Black Star Inspiration: Desmond Tutu

Bohten's lineage can be traced back to a long and storied history of black cultural innovators. Each month, we celebrate the style inspiration of icons who flawlessly express their flair through lenses.

Desmond Mpilo Tutu was a man of the cloth whose words have left an everlasting mark on his home country, South Africa and the world. Desmond was born to Xhosa and Tswana parents in Klerskdorp, Transvaal, South Africa. Growing up, Desmond actually wanted to become a doctor but his parents couldn’t afford the fees, so he turned to teaching instead.

After a few years of teaching, Desmond switched his path in life and became an Anglican priest in 1961 after attending the St Peter’s Theological school in Johannesburg. He went on to further receive his masters in Theology in London and upon returning to South Africa, it would seem his true mission would start. Desmond was appointed to numerous top positions in the Anglican clergy and served as many firsts when it came to being a black man achieving such appointments in South Africa’s apartheid era. 

In the early 1980s, Desmond began to be recognized locally and internationally for bringing attention to the injustice that was apartheid in South Africa. His approach was always non-violent protest and encouraged international allies to put economic pressure on the South African government at the time. In 1984 his efforts were recognized as he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his outspoken yet truthful words.

In later years, Desmond would be appointed as the first black Anglican Bishop of Johannesburg and the first black archbishop of Cape Town, further blazing the trail for future black clergymen in a divided South Africa

When apartheid ended, Desmond Tutu was appointed to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by Nelson Mandela to help investigate and bring accountability to the human right injustices that occurred during apartheid.Desmond was always seen in his optical frames, switching up his style sometimes, but they were  definitely a part of his staple look. They assisted him throughout his life to see the world for what it was, what it could be, and what it became thanks to his efforts. It is very fair to say our world was better off having him in it. Desmond Tutu passed away on December 26th 2021, a few months after his 90th birthday. His large smile and warm eyes behind his frames will be missed by many.


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