Home World News South Africa: farewell to Desmond Tutu during a modest requiem

South Africa: farewell to Desmond Tutu during a modest requiem


Last tribute. This Saturday, a requiem mass for Desmond Tutu, in the Anglican cathedral in Cape Town where he preached with all his might against the racist apartheid regime, allowed his relatives and all the bereaved South Africans to say goodbye to their cherished archbishop.

Under a heavy sky and a fine drizzle, family and friends, priests and dignitaries, dribbled into the church for a ceremony that Bishop Tutu, who died on December 26 at the age of 90, wanted simple and uncluttered and whose texts and speakers he had chosen. His body rests in a light pine coffin that he had asked for “as cheaply as possible”. The gold handles were therefore replaced by pieces of rope allowing it to be transported. It had been exhibited for two days in St. George’s Cathedral for those who wished to come and honor its memory.

VIDEO. Desmond Tutu, death of an icon of the fight against apartheid

“Daddy would say the love the whole world has shown us (this week) is heartwarming,” his daughter Mpho told the audience. “We thank you for having loved it so much”.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was to deliver the eulogy after Communion and present Tutu’s widow “Mama Leah” with a national flag. A close and longtime friend of “The Arch”, former Bishop Michael Nuttall, was chosen by the deceased to deliver the sermon. When Tutu was Archbishop, Nuttall was his “number two”. Their bond, “has arguably struck a chord in the hearts and minds of many: a vibrant black leader and his white deputy in the last years of apartheid was no small feat. And the sky did not collapse! He said from the altar. “We were a foretaste of what our divided country could be.”

The “voice of the voiceless”

He also recalled that Nelson Mandela described Tutu as “the voice of the voiceless”, a voice “sometimes shrill, often tender, never frightened and rarely devoid of humor”.

The former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson, was to participate in the reading of the universal prayer, in the presence of Letsie III, the king of neighboring Lesotho, or a representative of the Dalai Lama with whom Tutu exchanged madmen memorable laughs. “Their friendship was unique,” ​​Ngodup Dorjee told AFP. “As soon as they met, they laughed. The only explanation for this is a karmic connection in the past, ”he added very seriously.

The week was marked by tributes to Bishop Tutu across the country and beyond. South Africans remembered his tenacity and grace in the face of the oppressive Pretoria regime. For his funeral, Desmond Tutu chose, in his last message to men, the passage from the Gospel according to St. John where Jesus addresses his disciples after their last meal. A message of love. “My commandment is this: Love one another as I have loved you.”

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