THE Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Dr Desmond Tutu, has
written a children's picture-book, published this month, which is
based on his own childhood, and in which he talks about the import-
ant relationship he had with Fr Trevor Huddleston. Co-written with
Douglas Carlton Abrams, and illustrated by A. G. Ford, it tells the
story of Desmond, a young boy growing up in a poor part of
In Desmond and the Very Mean Word, Desmond is out
riding his new bike when an aggressive group of white children call
him names - one name in particular. Enraged, Desmond is bent on
revenge, but, with the help of kindly advice from his parish
priest, Fr Trevor, he manages to find compassion and forgive his
"The story was inspired by something that actually happened to
me when I was growing up in South Africa," Dr Tutu says. "Fr Trevor
is based on Fr Trevor Huddleston, who was my childhood hero. . . Fr
Trevor mentored me, and countless other young people. When I was
sick in hospital for 20 months, he came to visit me - one poor boy
in his whole parish - every single week.
"At another time, he asked Louis Armstrong for a trumpet, which
he gave to a young boy named Hugh. Hugh Masekela became one of
South Africa's greatest trumpeters.
"Fr Trevor, who eventually became Archbishop Huddleston, was one
of the most important members of the anti-apartheid movement. . . .
He truly did care about everyone, and, in so many ways, taught us
the secrets of love and forgiveness. In his honour, my wife, Leah,
and I named our first son Trevor."
Desmond and the Very Mean Word, by Desmond Tutu and Douglas
Carlton Abrams, illustrated by A. G. Ford, is published by Walker
Books at £11.99 (Church Times Bookshop £10.80);