CAPE TOWN – South Africans lined up for a second day Friday to pay their respects to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, whose body was in St.
Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was widely revered in South Africa for his moral honesty and principled struggle against white minority rule and revered across racial and cultural differences, died on Sunday at the age of 90. He witnessed the end of this regime and headed a truth and reconciliation commission to help expose government sponsored atrocities during that time.
Clergymen and church leaders lined the street as guard of honor and waited for the simple pine coffin with rope handles, while the brass band of St. George’s Cathedral filled the air with the sounds of drums, flutes and trumpets.
Tutu, who asked for the cheapest coffin and did not want lavish funeral expenses, is cremated and his remains buried behind the pulpit of the cathedral, from which he often preached against racial injustice.
A tearful Thandeka Tutu, his eldest daughter, hugged her sisters after climbing out of the hearse, meeting other family members and the clergy at the entrance, where six black-clad pallbearers carried the closed coffin to an inner sanctuary amid a cloud of incense from an Anglican Thurible.
The cathedral’s dean, Father Michael Weeder, told eNCA news channel that Tutu’s body would lie in the cathedral all night after the public viewing ended at 5 p.m. (10 a.m. ET).
A long line wound around the cathedral while the mourners waited to pay their respects.
“We as young activists believe that the bow stood for the same values we strive for in society,” Irfaan Mangera, a pro-Palestinian South African activist, told Reuters as he waited in the long line into Palestinian keffiyeh was wrapped.
Using Tutu’s nickname, Mangera added, “The Arch was one of the characters who have continuously united us against oppressive systems worldwide and locally, and we want to continue down this path as young South African activists who embrace the values of non-racism and non-sexism imitate. “.”
Tutu’s death represents a great loss for South Africa, where many referred to him as “Tata” – father. Church bells have been rung in his honor every day since Sunday, and tributes and prayers have been received from all over the world.
“I’m basically just here to pay my respects,” said Randall Ortel, a doctor and one of the first people to walk into church on Thursday. “He’s definitely one of my role models and I want to imitate what he’s done in his life,” he said.
Amanda Mbikwana said she arrived as early as 5 a.m. with her mother and nephews.
“We know Tata’s work, he stood up for us and we are here today in a free country to do him the honor, to celebrate his life and to support (his wife) Mama Leah and the family,” said Mbikwana, a HR manager
“He was always the voice of the voiceless and always the voice of reason,” said Chris Nissen, another anti-apartheid activist, as he waited in line in front of the cathedral.
Among the many mourners was Mandla Mandela, a grandson of South Africa’s first black President Nelson Mandela, who had been a friend and ally of Tutu.
“People like Arch could lead protests and marches here in the Cape, and that’s why, when we look back on his life, we celebrate today and especially with his support for oppressed nations around the world,” he said.