The funeral mass for South African anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has taken place at the Anglican cathedral in Cape Town.
Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who helped end the racist regime in South Africa, died last Sunday aged 90.
In his eulogy, President Cyril Ramaphosa described Tutu as “the spiritual father of our new nation”.
Tutu had insisted there should be no “lavish spending” on the funeral. He wanted “the cheapest available coffin”.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu (GP)
Family, friends, clergy and politicians were among those who gathered at St George’s Cathedral for Saturday’s service, which had limited numbers because of coronavirus restrictions. Tutu’s widow Nomalizo Leah sat in a wheelchair at the front of the congregation wearing a purple shawl – the colour of her late husband’s clerical robes.
Tutu was one of the driving forces behind the movement to end the policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the black majority in South Africa from 1948 until 1991.
In the main eulogy at the official state funeral on Saturday, Ramaphosa described the archbishop as a “crusader in the struggle for freedom, for justice, for equality and for peace. Not only in South Africa… but around the world as well”.
“If we are to understand a global icon to be someone of great moral stature, of exceptional qualities, and of service to humanity there can be no doubt that it refers to the man we’re laying to rest today,” he said.
Saturday’s funeral was given a special status, usually designated for presidents and very important people.
Tutu had requested that the only flowers in the cathedral should be a “bouquet of carnations from his family”, according to the Archbishop Tutu IP Trust and the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.
His ashes are to be interred behind the pulpit at St George’s Cathedral – the Anglican diocese he served as Archbishop for 35 years.
It was earlier revealed that Tutu is to be aquamated – a process using water that is described as an environmentally friendly alternative to cremation. (BBC)