Tutu to lie in state at St George’s Cathedral

For mourners to pay their final respects.
The late Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Image: Reuters

The body of South Africa’s anti-apartheid theologian, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, arrived at Cape Town’s St George’s Cathedral on Thursday morning, where it will lie in state for two days for mourners to pay their final respects.

Tutu, a Nobel Peace prize winner widely revered across racial and cultural divides in South Africa for his moral rectitude and principled fight against white-minority rule, died on Sunday aged 90.

His simple pine coffin with rope handles, adorned with a single bunch of white carnations, was carried into the brown stoned-walled church that provided a safe haven for anti-apartheid activists during the repressive white minority rule.

Emotional family members met the coffin outside the church entrance, where six black-robed clergy acting as pall bearers carried the closed coffin inside to an inner sanctuary.

Tutu, who requested the cheapest coffin and did not want any lavish funeral expense, will be cremated and his remains interred behind the St George’s Cathedral pulpit he often used to preach against racial injustice.

The public will have an opportunity to view Tutu’s body between 9am local time (0700 GMT) and 5pm (1500 GMT) on Thursday and Friday, ahead of a requiem mass funeral service on Saturday where President Cyril Ramaphosa was expected to deliver a eulogy.

Memorial services were also planned for Tutu in Johannesburg and Pretoria on Thursday.

Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 in recognition of his non-violent opposition to white minority rule. A decade later, he witnessed the end of that regime and chaired a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to unearth the atrocities committed under it.

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Technically, he is “lying in repose” not in “state” …

“Lying in state is the tradition in which the body of a deceased official is placed in a state building, either outside or inside a coffin, to allow the public to pay their respects. It traditionally takes place in the principal government building of a country, state, or city. While the practice differs among countries, a viewing in a location other than the principal government building may be referred to as lying in repose.” Wikipedia

I think that the last thing the Archbishop Emeritus would have wanted would be to be associated with the State, embodied by the ANC, which he openly condemned, and have the crocodile tears of the corrupt flowing near his body as they seize another media opportunity. I am very pleased that the ANC at least in Cape Town has been sidelined in this ceremony.

RIP

Perfect Comment, couldn’t agree more, sums it up!

End of comments.

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