Archbishop Desmond and Leah Tutu, as the longtime patrons of the Phelophepa Train, have been instrumental in bringing attention and support to the project. His Eminence and his wonderful wife, Leah, have worked long and hard to bring to life their fundamental belief that everyone deserves the blessing of what the word “Phelophepa” means — good, clean health!


Desmond Mpilo Tutu CH (born 7 October 1931) is a South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid.

He was the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and bishop of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa).

Since the demise of apartheid in South Africa, Tutu has campaigned to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984; the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986; the Pacem in Terris Award in 1987; the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999; the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2007; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. He has also compiled several books of his speeches and sayings.

A portrait of Archbishop Desmond Tutu's wife Leah Tutu

Leah is a teacher and a nurse. During the period between 1970 and 1972, she worked as an assistant to the registrar at bot the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. She co-founded the South African Domestic Workers Association. She was the director of the Domestic Workers and Employers Project of the South African Institute of Race Relations from 1976 to 1984. She co-founded the Desmond Tutu Peace Center in 1988. She lectures to many churches and women’s groups.

In 2000, the National Louis University awarded her an honorary doctorate, along with her husband. In 2009, she and her husband were awarded the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award by the We Are Family Foundation.

Letter of support from Archbishop Tutu