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The funeral service for late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is held at the St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: CHARLIE SHOEMAKER
The funeral service for late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is held at the St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: CHARLIE SHOEMAKER

January 1 2022- 09:59

Silence as the funeral service prepares to begin

There is silence at the St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa, as the funeral service for the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu prepares to begin.

January 1 2022- 09:59

WATCH | Mourners gather to pay tribute to 'the Arch'.

January 1 2022- 09:58

The service is just about to get underway

We are just minutes away from the start of the official funeral service for the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, with a procession forming to start proceedings.

January 1 2022- 09:55

Remembering Desmond Tutu: The Munsieville 'boy' who became a world icon

To the world he was a symbol of hope and forgiveness, those who knew him in his youth also remember Tutu as a soccer-loving guy from a generous, open-hearted family.

January 1 2022- 09:53

The clergy and pall bearers take their seats

The clergy forming part of the funeral mass has just taken up position at the front of the church, as the pall bearers take their places.

January 1 2022- 09:52

Ramaphosa comforts mama Leah

Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa took a few minutes to speak to mama Leah Tutu, who was quietly wiping her tears as they waited for the funeral service to start.

January 1 2022- 09:50

Tutu left a proud legacy and an indelible mark that will transcend generations

Mahikeng Ministers Fellowship (MMF) hailed ArchBishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu as a fearless servant of God who has left a proud legacy and an indelible mark that will transcend generations.

“We can without fear of contradiction declare that all the recognitions that the Arch received during his lifetime of selfless service to humanity including the Nobel Peace Prize do not measure the invaluable contribution that he has made.

"A crown of righteousness awaits this extraordinary and remarkable servant leader who had impacted as well as deeply enriched our lives when he meets his creator and the GOD that he served with passion and dedication to the very end,” said chairperson, Senior Pastor Moss Tlalang.

“He did not spare any ounce of energy to shine the spotlight on its atrocities as well as mobilising the international community to support the call for sanctions while preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ based on the greatest love for all and calling for repentance from racial hatred, discrimination and social injustice,” he stressed.

He highlighted that the Arch will always be affectionately remembered for his principled servant leadership, for being a forthright and upright theologian, a true man of God, one of unshakeable conviction that all faith leaders had looked up to for guidance and inspiration.

January 1 2022- 09:45

No general public access to the St. George’s Cathedral precinct for the funeral

The City of Cape Town said while there will be no general public access to the St. George’s Cathedral precinct for the funeral, and most roads in the vicinity will be closed, a viewing space has been made available on the Grand Parade for the funeral service of the late Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu. Access to this area will be via the entrance to the Grand Parade along Castle Street.

The Company’s Garden will be closed due to the funeral service.

Motorists are advised to please find alternative routes during this time, or to avoid the St. George’s Cathedral precinct entirely, if possible.

A full list of road closures are available HERE

January 1 2022- 09:40

Tutu had specific plans for his funeral

The service today will follow instruction outlined by Tutu before his death.

"He wanted no ostentatiousness or lavish spending," his foundation said this week.

“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.” 

Minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele said based on the late archbishop’s wishes, “the SANDF ceremonial content will be limited to the handing over of the national flag to Mam' Leah Tutu [his wife].”

Tutu's daughter, Reverend Naomi Tutu, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rev. Justin Welby, are also expected to speak

January 1 2022- 09:35

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba comforts some of the bereaved

Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, is now greeting and interacting with the bereaved already seated inside St. George's cathedral. Elderly family members quietly wipe their tears as they are comforted.

January 1 2022- 09:32

WATCH | President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives at Tutu's funeral

The president is expected to present the main eulogy at the service.

January 1 2022- 09:30

WATCH | The funeral service of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

January 1 2022- 09:23

Mlambo-Ngcuka and Motlanthe arrive

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who was the deputy president from 2005 to 2008, have just arrived, shortly after former president Kgalema Motlanthe, who was in office between September 25 2008 and May 9 2009, following the resignation of Thabo Mbeki.

January 1 2022- 09:20

Tutu's final farewells

“But when I went into the bedroom at the hospice, he gave me a smile and said ‘Thank you, ke a leboga.’ He was full of gratitude. And for me it was like he was saying to SA, to Africa and the world, ‘Live a life of gratitude.’

“He held my hand tightly and he was not letting go. He wanted to say something. I could say he was grateful to have been born before apartheid, lived under apartheid, challenged apartheid and lived in a democratic SA and challenged it and played his part.

“Maybe the call there is how we should emulate his moral strength, his moral courage, his clarity, and how we challenge dishonest politicians and profiteers.” - Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba 

January 1 2022- 09:15

Tributes have been pouring in for the late Archbishop

Tributes from around the world have been flooding in for the late Archbishop Emeritus since his passing the day after Christmas last week.

January 1 2022- 09:12

Tutu's widow,family members and dignitaries have started arriving for his funeral

A motorcade carrying the widow of archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, Leah, as well as other family members is approaching St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town, where his funeral service is due to start at 10am.

Among the early arrivals are deputy president David Mabuza, former president Thabo Mbeki and wife Zanele, CT mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, businessman Patrice Motsepe, premier Alan Windie, struggle activist Cheryl Carolus and deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

January 1 2022- 09:11

People walk to the funeral service of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu at St George's Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa, January 1, 2022.
People walk to the funeral service of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu at St George's Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa, January 1, 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Shelley Christians

January 1 2022- 09:10

A week-long remembrance

The days following Tutu's death have been filled with events remembering the anti-apartheid icons life.

These included 

  • an interfaith memorial service arranged by the City of Cape Town on Wednesday;
  • an ecumenical thanksgiving service at St Cyprian’s Cathedral in Kimberley at 10am on Thursday;
  • an ecumenical and interfaith service at 11am on Thursday at St Albans Cathedral in Pretoria;
  • a memorial service hosted by the Diocese of Johannesburg in St Mary's Cathedral on Thursday;
  • a gathering of friends hosted by the Archbishop Tutu IP Trust and the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation at the Old Granary in Cape Town on Thursday evening; and
  • a memorial service at St Mary's Cathedral in Gqeberha on Friday.

January 1 2022- 09:00

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will be honoured in an official state funeral held at the St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa, on Saturday morning.

Tutu, the last surviving South African laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize, died in Cape Town last week at the age of 90.

He was the first black cleric to be elected as the Bishop of Johannesburg before being inaugurated in 1986 as the first black cleric to become Archbishop of Cape Town.

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