Desmond Tutu’s body lies in state at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town
Johannesburg, Dec 30 (EFE).- The body of Archbishop Desmond Tutu Thursday arrived at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town to lie in state as hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon and global human rights activist.
Tutu’s open casket that was received by the country’s Anglican Archbishop, Thabo Makgoba, and other priests will remain at the church for the public to honor until the funeral on Saturday.
The family of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who died a day after Christmas at the age of 90, waited for the body’s arrival at the church to bid him farewell before the casket was opened to the general public.
As per Tutu’s request, the coffin was simple, plain, and had no decorations, except a small bouquet of white flowers that was placed on top of the wooden box.
Longs lines of people were formed outside the church early in the morning to say their last goodbye.
The public viewing was initially scheduled to take place only on Friday but Tutu Foundation and the authorities decided to extend it for two days as a large number of people is expected to pay tribute to the late Anglican archbishop.
Tutu is to be cremated after the service and his ashes will be placed beneath the floor at the cathedral where he presided as Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986-1996.
He received the Nobel Prize in 1984 in recognition of his role in the struggle against the racist apartheid system and under President Mandela, he led a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that gave victims a chance to be heard and perpetrators an opportunity to avoid prosecution if they confess to their crimes.
In his later years, Tutu showed himself willing to clash with the Anglican hierarchy over his support for LGBT rights and euthanasia.EFE