Archbishop Desmond Tutu's legacy showcased in new digital archive launched by The Archbishop Tutu IP Trust, Africa Media Online and AM Quartex

The Archbishop Desmond Tutu Archive, a new digital archival collection, commissioned by The Archbishop Tutu IP Trust and created by AM Quartex, launched on Saturday, 7 October 2023, on what would have been the Archbishop’s 92nd birthday.

The launch of The Archbishop Desmond Tutu Archive celebrates the life and work of Archbishop Tutu, who died on 26 December 2021, and represents the first phase of a project that will make his extraordinary body of work publicly and digitally accessible and showcase his legacy for future generations.

The Tutu IP Trust worked closely with Africa Media Online on the digitisation and metadata preparation, and with AM Quartex on creating the site that showcases this collection. The result is an innovative digital archive with extensive multimedia files, integrated into a robust, accessible and searchable website.

The Archbishop Desmond Tutu Archive makes extensive use of Quartex’s dual focus on discoverability and design, allowing users to access the archive on any device. Customisable metadata and an extensive range of filters enables users to search within specific collections, timeframes, geography, or even by asset types such as written documents, photographs or videos.

The platform will make the veteran apartheid campaigner's entire archive of speeches, letters and writings available globally to internet users. The aim is to provide a one-stop, comprehensive and accessible resource for present and future generations of learners and thinkers.

We and our partners, Africa Media Online, are honoured to welcome the Archbishop Tutu IP Trust to the AM Quartex community. Archbishop Desmond Tutu's influence resonated globally, inspiring countless individuals. He left an enduring legacy that transcends borders. We are proud to be able to help showcase this legacy for generations to come.

Khal Rudin, Executive Chair at AM, and Senior Vice President at Sage Publishing

The project will unfold over several years, as more materials are prepared (arranged, itemised, inventoried, captured in digital form, processed and professionally referenced) and uploaded. The next phase will also include linking the platform to important materials held in the archives of local and international universities, among others. Where sections of the archive are yet to be populated, they are curated for silence; their location being visible as it forms part of the essential environment.

The project is being directed by the Archbishop Tutu IP Trust, which was established by the Archbishop to manage his intellectual property and associated rights.

The Archbishop Tutu IP Trust is thrilled to have prepared the ground for the next phase of the archiving project that will draw in the expertise of university partners in the UK, US and South Africa. The digital platform has been designed to be accessible, easily searchable, and robust.

Dr Mamphela Ramphele, Chairperson of the Archbishop Tutu IP Trust

“Memory of Archbishop Tutu’s template for human leadership based on the principles of inter-dependence, love and justice for all cannot be lost to a world (and beloved country) being driven to the abyss by consumptiveness, inequality, and division,” Dr Ramphele said.

About Archbishop Desmond Tutu

In his 2022 eulogy, the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa described Archbishop Tutu as "the spiritual father of our new nation” and as a "crusader in the struggle for freedom, for justice, for equality and for peace. Not only in South Africa… but around the world".

Archbishop Desmond Tutu fought tirelessly against apartheid and campaigned internationally for racial justice, climate change and LGBTQ rights.

The clergyman was the first Black bishop of Johannesburg, and later became the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town.

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