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Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Body Lies In State In His Old Cathedral

Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Body Lies In State In His Old Cathedral

The body of late Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Thursday was carried into Anglican Church’s St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town where it will lie in state for two days to allow as many people as possible to say their final goodbyes to the much-loved clergy and rights advocate.

Tutu once railed against the white rule to allow South Africans to bid farewell to the anti-apartheid in the Cathedral.

A small bouquet of carnations was placed on top of a simple pine coffin carried by six Anglican priests.

Tutu’s successor, Thabo Makgoba, said a prayer after priests burnt incense over the coffin before it was lifted from the hearse.

Tutu’s widow Leah walked slowly behind as the coffin entered the cathedral in the city centre.

The tireless spiritual and political leader who died peacefully at 90 Sunday, 26th December 2021 will be cremated and his ashes buried on New Year’s Day.

Tutu’s lying in state had been extended to two days “for fear there might be a stampede,” Reverend Gilmore Fry told AFP.

Following a private cremation, Tutu’s ashes will be interred inside his stonewalled former parish — where he preached for many years — and where bells have been ringing in his memory for 10 minutes at midday every day since Monday.

Hundreds of people have flocked to the cathedral since Sunday — where Tutu served as the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town for a decade until 1996 — to lay flowers and sign a book of condolences.

Only a bouquet of carnations from his family will be on display in the cathedral on the funeral day.

In line with Covid-19 restrictions, only 100 mourners will attend the funeral.

Tutu had also wanted military rites to be limited.

Only the South African flag will be presented to his wife Leah, with whom he was married in 1955 and had four children.

Weakened by advanced age and prostate cancer, the Nobel Peace laureate had retired from public life in recent years.

He retired in 1996 to lead a harrowing journey into South Africa’s dark past as chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which exposed the horrors of apartheid in terrible detail.

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