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Special category 1 official funeral for Archbishop Tutu

Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah. File image.
Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah. File image.
Image: Tutu Legacy via Twitter

Anti-apartheid activist and religious leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be accorded a special category 1 official funeral, the presidency announced on Tuesday. 

The archbishop, who was also the last surviving South African laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize, died in Cape Town at the age of 90.

The presidency said in a statement that the special official funeral will take place at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town on Saturday.

Tutu was described by the presidency as a globally venerated theologian, anti-apartheid campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

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.

“In recognition of the late archbishop emeritus’ distinguished life and invaluable contribution to the nation, President Ramaphosa has designated the late leader’s funeral as a special official funeral — category 1.

“On this occasion and 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],” said minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele.

Gungubele also highlighted Tutu’s contribution to post-apartheid SA, including his service as general secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and as chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“As part of this funeral designation, the national flag will be half-masted throughout the country and at South African diplomatic missions worldwide from sunset [on Tuesday] until the evening of the funeral,” Gungubele added. 

The funeral will be held in compliance with the provisions of Covid-19 health regulations that apply under adjusted alert level 1 of the national state of disaster.



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