Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been laid to rest in a state funeral on New Year’s Day in Cape Town, ending a week of events honouring the late anti-apartheid hero.
Tutu, one of the foremost figures in South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, died aged 90 on December 26, 2021. He had been in poor health for several years. News of Archbishop Tutu’s death sparked an outpouring of tributes from all over the globe.
As per Tutu’s wishes, the funeral was subdued. Before he died, Tutu asked for a simple service and the cheapest available coffin. Tutu’s funeral was limited to just 100 people, in line with current Covid-19 regulations.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, delivered the main eulogy during the service at St. George’s Cathedral, called Tutu “our national conscience” and “a crusader in the struggle for freedom, for justice, for equality and for peace, not just in South Africa, the country of his birth, but around the world as well”.
“Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been our moral compass and national conscience. He saw our country as a ‘rainbow nation’, emerging from the shadow of apartheid, united in its diversity, with freedom and equal rights for all,” he said.
“He embraced all who had ever felt the cold wind of exclusion and they in turn embraced him.
“His was a life lived honestly and completely. He has left the world a better place. We remember him with a smile.”
Honouring the life of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. LIVESTREAM NOW ON… (starts 16h00 GMT+2)https://t.co/13Sj8SfviN
— DesmondTutu Official (@TheDesmondTutu) December 30, 2021
Tutu’s daughter Naomi also paid tribute to her late father and thanked the public for their support and prayers.
“Thank you, daddy, for the many ways you showed us love, for the many times you challenged us, for the many times you comforted us,” she said.
Tutu’s body will be cremated in a private ceremony and will then be interred behind the pulpit at the cathedral.