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Farewell to ‘our nationwide conscience’ at funeral of South Africa’s Tutu By Reuters

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© Reuters. Individuals arrive at St. Georges Cathedral to pay respects to late Archbishop Desmond Tutu throughout his mendacity in state, in Cape City, South Africa, December 30, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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By Wendell Roelf

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) -President Cyril Ramaphosa lauded the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu as “our ethical compass and nationwide conscience” as South Africa bade farewell at a state funeral on Saturday to a hero of the battle in opposition to apartheid.

“Our departed father was a crusader within the battle for freedom, for justice, for equality and for peace, not simply in South Africa, the nation of his delivery, however around the globe,” Ramaphosa mentioned, delivering the primary eulogy on the service in St George’s Cathedral, Cape City, the place for years Tutu preached in opposition to racial injustice.

The president then handed over the nationwide flag to Tutu’s widow, Nomalizo Leah, often called “Mama Leah”. Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1984 for his non-violent opposition to white minority rule, died final Sunday aged 90.

His widow sat in a wheelchair within the entrance row of the congregation, draped in a purple scarf, the color of her husband’s clerical robes. Ramaphosa wore an identical necktie.

Cape City, the town the place Tutu lived for many of his later life, was unseasonably wet early on Saturday as mourners gathered to bid farewell to the person fondly often called “The Arch”.

The solar shone brightly after the requiem Mass as six white-robed clergy appearing as pall bearers wheeled the coffin out of the cathedral to a hearse.

Tutu’s physique will probably be cremated after which his ashes interred behind the cathedral’s pulpit in a non-public ceremony.

“Small in bodily stature, he was a large amongst us morally and spiritually,” mentioned retired Bishop Michael Nuttall, who served as Tutu’s deputy for a few years.

Life-size posters of Tutu, together with his arms clasped, have been positioned outdoors the cathedral, the place the variety of congregants was restricted according to COVID-19 measures.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who leads the worldwide Anglican Communion, mentioned in a recorded message: “Individuals have mentioned ‘once we have been at the hours of darkness, he introduced mild’ and that… has lit up international locations globally which might be battling worry, conflicts, persecution, oppression.”

Tutu’s relations have been visibly emotional.

His daughter, Reverend Nontombi Naomi Tutu, thanked well-wishers for his or her help because the Mass started, her voice briefly quivering with emotion.

‘RAINBOW NATION’

Extensively revered throughout South Africa’s racial and cultural divides for his ethical integrity, Tutu by no means stopped combating for his imaginative and prescient of a “Rainbow Nation” during which all races in post-apartheid South Africa may reside in concord.

A whole lot of well-wishers queued on Thursday and Friday to pay their final respects as his physique lay in state on the cathedral.

As Anglican archbishop of Cape City, Tutu turned St George’s into what is named a “Individuals’s Cathedral” a refuge for anti-apartheid activists through the turbulent Nineteen Eighties and Nineties when safety forces brutally repressed the mass democratic motion.

A small crowd of round 100 individuals adopted the funeral proceedings on an enormous display screen on the Grand Parade, reverse Metropolis Corridor the place Tutu joined Nelson Mandela when he gave his first speech after being free of jail.

“We have now come to present our final respects to our father Tutu. We love our father, who taught us about love, unity and respect for each other,” mentioned Mama Phila, a 54-year-old Rastafarian draped within the inexperienced, crimson and yellow colors of her religion.

Mandela, who grew to become the nation’s first post-apartheid president and who died in December 2013, as soon as mentioned of his good friend: “Generally strident, usually tender, by no means afraid and infrequently with out humour, Desmond Tutu’s voice will at all times be the voice of the unvoiced.”

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