Archbishop Desmond Tutu To Lie In State In Cape Town For Two Days

(THE GUARDIAN) – The body of archbishop Desmond Tutu, the revered South African anti-apartheid fighter who died at the weekend aged 90, will lie in state for two days before his funeral on New Year’s Day, his foundations have said.

The lying in state was initially scheduled to last just one day – Friday – but has been extended to include Thursday “to accommodate more mourners”, said the Archbishop Tutu IP Trust and the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.

The statement on Tuesday gave thanks for the outpouring of support expressed around the world after Tutu died.

“This deluge of love serves to compensate, to some extent, for Covid regulations restricting the size of gatherings and the nature of the send-off our beloved Arch so richly deserves,” the foundations said, referring to Tutu’s nickname.

Attendance at his farewell on Saturday has to be capped at 100 because of anti-coronavirus restrictions, the archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, has said.

Tributes from world leaders poured in after Tutu’s death was announced on Sunday, and within South Africa, many are deeply mourning the passing of the last great hero of the anti-apartheid struggle.

For years, Tutu was the visible emblem of the fight against white-minority rule while Nelson Mandela and other leaders were behind bars. His hallmarks were religious faith, unfailing humour and an unstinting will to speak out against injustice.

South Africa’s national flag has been flown at half-mast since Monday, while Cape Town city hall and the famous Table Mountain have been illuminated in purple – the colour of Tutu’s gown.

Since Monday, the bells of St George’s Cathedral have tolled for 10 minutes at noon to start what the church hopes will be a moment of reflection on Tutu’s deeds. Religious services are being held around South Africa in his honour.

The foundations added that Tutu “was very clear on his wishes for his funeral”. “He wanted no ostentatiousness or lavish spending,” they said. “He asked that the coffin be the cheapest available, and that a bouquet of carnations from his family be the only flowers in the cathedral.”

He also asked that those who wanted to buy flowers send the equivalent amount in money to the two foundations instead, they said.