In 1976, the protests in Soweto, also known as the Soweto Riots, against the government's use of Afrikaans as the compulsory language of instruction in black schools became an uprising against apartheid.
From then on Tutu supported an economic boycott of his country.
"One day," said Tutu, "I was standing in the street with my mother when a white man in a priest's clothing walked past. I couldn't believe my eyes—a white man who greeted a black working class woman!
" Although Tutu wanted to become a doctor, his family could not afford the training, and he followed his father's footsteps into teaching.
Beginning on his 79th birthday, Tutu entered a phased retirement from public life, starting with only one day per week in his office through February 2011.