President Ramaphosa will be leading the nation at the new year day’s official funeral of South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
In an extended lie in state at Cape Town’s Anglican cathedral, followed by requiem Mass on Saturday presided over by Father Michael Weeder, Dean of St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town who said “It has been a day that has been anticipated, the passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu. It has been anticipated for about six years and there was what the Archbishop Thabo (Thabo Makgoba, archbishop of Cape Town) called the ‘Mpilo Plan’. So all the logistics that would lead up to what now would happen on Saturday”.
On Tuesday, Nontombi Tutu, one of Tutu’s four children expressed the emotion of the family: “There has been such an outpouring of love, and support, and prayers that we don’t have enough mouths. Mummy (Leah Tutu) is maintaining. Her best friends flew in from Johannesburg yesterday to be with her and to stay with her through this whole week.”
The 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner, who celebrated his 90th birthday on October 7 with a rare public appearance, leaves a rich legacy and is seen by many in South Africa as the country’s moral conscience.
South Africans continue to pay their respects at the St George’s cathedral of Cape Town where Tutu will be interred.
The man fondly known to South Africans as “the Arch” succumbed to cancer at a care facility in Cape Town. He was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997 and was hospitalized several times in the years since, amid recurring fears that the disease had spread.
The state funeral will take place on New Year’s day as a Special Official Funeral.