‘How I met & fell in love with my wife Marceline” – Desmond Tutu’s daughter Mpho

Rev. Mpho Tutu van Furth, the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu {1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner}, is an experienced preacher, teacher and public speaker. The civil wedding of Mpho Tutu to Prof. Marceline van Furth held in the Netherlands on 30th December 2015. While Mpho is an Episcopal priest, and Executive Director of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, her wife is a Dutch professor of paediatric infectious diseases. Mpho was ordained in her early 40s in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington(USA), where she is still a “priest in good standing” but in the South African Anglican church, same-sex marriage is not recognized so she can no longer exercise her priestly ministry in the country.



Mpho met Marceline in 2011, the year she moved back to South Africa from the US. At the time, Marceline was one of a group of visiting academics in South Africa. The couple got to know each other better after Mpho went to study in the Netherlands. They developed a relationship which went beyond friendship. Was it love at first sight for Mpho Tutu van Furth? She told The Guardian, “No, no. I was still married at the time, even though the marriage was clearly in trouble. She was a nice lady professor. We had nice conversations; that was it. It was a matter of realising I was in love. If I have to wear a label, and if it makes a difference to wear a label, then maybe I’m willing to wear the label of being bisexual.


“But I almost wear the label under protest because it makes sex the centre of our relationship. Sex is not the centre of our relationship although it is significant – I’m not trying to pretend that I’m celibate, but for us it’s not the defining aspect of our relationship. What defines our relationship is that we love each other, that we enjoy each other’s company, we are mutually respectful, mutually supportive. It’s those things that really matter the most in the relationship – and in any relationship.Ultimately, the place I arrived at was, if this were a man what would you be doing? How do you have an honest relationship with this person? If this is love, then it’s love – and if it’s something else, then you shouldn’t be involved.”

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