Johannesburg, Dec 27 (EFE).- South Africa began a week of mourning on Monday in memory of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate died in Cape Town at the age of 90 on Sunday, triggering an outpouring of tributes from notable figures around the world.
Bells will ring at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral for the coming five days to commemorate Tutu’s death, Cape Town’s Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said in a press conference Monday.
“We ask all who hear the bells to pause their busy schedules for a moment in tribute to Archbishop Tutu,” Makgoba said.
The funeral for Tutu has been set for January 1 at the Anglican cathedral at 10.00 am (8.00 GMT), according to his foundation.
“The funeral will take place here and it is here where his ashes will also be interred,” Makgoba added.
Makgoba explained that more than 400 people have expressed their wish to attend the funeral. However, only 100 will be allowed in the cathedral due to the restrictions in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“Only a fraction of those who want to be there can be accommodated in the cathedral. So please don’t get on a bus to Cape Town,” he said, noting that Tutu’s body will be cremated.
Tutu’s ashes will be buried in a mausoleum inside the cathedral, according to Michael Weeder, dean of the cathedral.
A day before the funeral service, Tutu’s body will lie in state at the church to allow people to say their final goodbye.
The details of the week of mourning were announced after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute to Tutu during a speech to the nation Sunday night, calling him a global icon of peace and freedom.
“Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal,” Ramaphosa said.
The South African flag will fly at half-mast across the country in honor of Tutu, according to Ramaphosa, adding a period of mourning will be observed from the time of the formal declaration of the funeral until the night before the service.
Tutu played an unrivaled role in drawing national and international attention to the iniquities of apartheid in the 1980s, emphasizing nonviolent means of protest that won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
Tutu remained an active voice in South African civil society and was an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights and euthanasia.EFE