The Learning Lunch podcast explores ideas, approaches and social innovations – creating opportunity for non-profit organisations’ teams to discover what others are learning and space to reflect on what these insights might mean for their own strategy and programme implementation.

The late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, or the Arch as he is fondly referred to, once said on hope: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness” and on being a wise leader: “Wisdom is when you are able to use your experience for not repeating the mistakes that you have made or others have made. Wisdom is being able to affirm others and knowing that you are not a one-man-band. Wisdom is recognising that others are wiser than you.”   

Amidst trials both past and present for civil society, and with the Covid-19 pandemic amplifying these trials, this podcast seeks to reinstill hope. We focus on the wise leadership values of Archbishop Demond Tutu by speaking to those who worked closely with him in civil society. We examine how he handled moments of pressure and conflict from the opposition and within, and how he continued to be a beacon of light, mobilising groups and encouraging them forward even in the darkest moments in South African history.  In this podcast, we will be speaking to two of the Arch’s colleagues, Edwin Arrison, who is the Arch’s long-time friend and Development Manager at the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, as well as Phumi Nhlapho, who is the Chief Operating Officer at the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. They talk about how it was to work with him and for him, what responsibilities come with being a servant leader, how organisations can remain consistent with practising good values and how to handle conflicting relationships between government, civil society and its beneficiaries.

Edwin Arrison

Edwin Arrison is the Development Manager at the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation as well as long-time friend of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He says he is one of the people who he holds to the highest regard. Edwin was an anti-Apartheid activist himself and was ordained by Archbishop Tutu. Today his work focuses on social entrepreneurship.

Phumi Nhlapho is the Chief Operating Officer of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. She completed a Bachelor of Social Science degree and a Post-graduate Diploma in Human Resources Management at the University of Natal. She has worked in the corporate environment for most of her career, holding management roles in the Human Resources and Public Relations fields. She made the decision to follow her heart and move into the non-profit sector in 2019. She is passionate about the education and development of young people.

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The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation founded in 2013 strives to ensure that the bravery of Arch and his wife (who was his source of strength and insight) is celebrated, communicated and curated for posterity. They use the Tutus’ rich archival heritage to promote learning, leadership and dialogue. The core of the Foundation’s work is The Courage to Heal, which is supported by three strategic pillars:

    Showcasing and training moral and ethical leadership that embodies the values of the Founders
    Providing a platform for courageous conversations, promoting dialogue that is topical and necessary. 
    Creation of a Tutu Knowledge Legacy Programme including a state-of-the-art Tutu museum and accessible, digitised archives


The Foundation’s work is centred in research and development, archival digitisation, museum design and curation and programmes and events to promote these values. 

Helpful links: 

  1. The Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation
  2. The Mission Joy documentary trailer 
  3. Remembering Desmond Tutu’s hope – article in the New Yorker