Siziwe Fayindla, 48, from Gugulethu emerged from the cathedral after 10am. Though she could not see Tutu’s face, she was satisfied that she walked past his coffin.
“I came to pay my last respects to Tata. We got close to the coffin but it was closed. I am impressed because it’s a normal coffin. It’s not even painted. It’s plain wood,” said Fayindla.
The coffin arrived two hours earlier in a dark grey van from which Tutu’s heartbroken daughter Thandeka Tutu emerged in a sunflower-yellow headdress amid incense and hugs.
While the family had some quiet time in the church and shied away from media attention, members of the public waited their turn to say goodbye.
Enersto Garcoamarqus, 64, from Hout Bay said Tutu meant a lot to him.
“I came specially to pay my last respects,” he said.
“I have had the opportunity to meet Archbishop Tutu a couple of times. I worked at Newspaper House, in St George’s Square, and I used to walk up Adderley Street and sometimes he came down and he greeted me by name. He was very precious to me. I only introduced myself once and he remembered my name. He greeted me 12 times. He interacted with every single person. It didn’t matter who you are. He meant so much to me.”
Lulekwa Gqiba, 41, shared Garcoamarqus’ sentiments.