Farewell to ‘our nationwide conscience’ at funeral of South Africa’s Tutu By Reuters

© Reuters. Folks arrive at St. Georges Cathedral to pay respects to late Archbishop Desmond Tutu throughout his mendacity in state, in Cape City, South Africa, December 30, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings


By Wendell Roelf

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) -President Cyril Ramaphosa lauded the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu as “our ethical compass and nationwide conscience” as South Africa bade farewell at a state funeral on Saturday to a hero of the wrestle towards apartheid.

“Our departed father was a crusader within the wrestle for freedom, for justice, for equality and for peace, not simply in South Africa, the nation of his delivery, however all over the world,” Ramaphosa mentioned, delivering the primary eulogy on the service in St George’s Cathedral, Cape City, the place for years Tutu preached towards racial injustice.

The president then handed over the nationwide flag to Tutu’s widow, Nomalizo Leah, often known as “Mama Leah”. Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1984 for his non-violent opposition to white minority rule, died final Sunday aged 90.

His widow sat in a wheelchair within the entrance row of the congregation, draped in a purple scarf, the color of her husband’s clerical robes. Ramaphosa wore an identical necktie.

Cape City, town the place Tutu lived for many of his later life, was unseasonably wet early on Saturday as mourners gathered to bid farewell to the person fondly often known as “The Arch”.

The solar shone brightly after the requiem Mass as six white-robed clergy appearing as pall bearers wheeled the coffin out of the cathedral to a hearse.

Tutu’s physique might be cremated after which his ashes interred behind the cathedral’s pulpit in a personal ceremony.

“Small in bodily stature, he was an enormous amongst us morally and spiritually,” mentioned retired Bishop Michael Nuttall, who served as Tutu’s deputy for a few years.

Life-size posters of Tutu, together with his palms clasped, have been positioned exterior the cathedral, the place the variety of congregants was restricted according to COVID-19 measures.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who leads the worldwide Anglican Communion, mentioned in a recorded message: “Folks have mentioned ‘once we have been in the dead of night, he introduced gentle’ and that… has lit up nations globally which might be scuffling with concern, conflicts, persecution, oppression.”

Tutu’s relations have been visibly emotional.

His daughter, Reverend Nontombi Naomi Tutu, thanked well-wishers for his or her help because the Mass started, her voice briefly quivering with emotion.


Extensively revered throughout South Africa’s racial and cultural divides for his ethical integrity, Tutu by no means stopped preventing for his imaginative and prescient of a “Rainbow Nation” by which all races in post-apartheid South Africa might stay in concord.

Tons of of well-wishers queued on Thursday and Friday to pay their final respects as his physique lay in state on the cathedral.

As Anglican archbishop of Cape City, Tutu turned St George’s into what is named a “Folks’s Cathedral” a refuge for anti-apartheid activists in the course of the turbulent Eighties and Nineteen Nineties when safety forces brutally repressed the mass democratic motion.

A small crowd of round 100 individuals adopted the funeral proceedings on a giant display on the Grand Parade, reverse Metropolis Corridor the place Tutu joined Nelson Mandela when he gave his first speech after being free of jail.

“We now have come to offer our final respects to our father Tutu. We love our father, who taught us about love, unity and respect for each other,” mentioned Mama Phila, a 54-year-old Rastafarian draped within the inexperienced, pink and yellow colors of her religion.

Mandela, who turned the nation’s first post-apartheid president and who died in December 2013, as soon as mentioned of his buddy: “Generally strident, usually tender, by no means afraid and infrequently with out humour, Desmond Tutu’s voice will all the time be the voice of the unvoiced.”

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