WATCH | The loss of an icon: Final farewell for Desmond Tutu

01 January 2022 - 18:12

Members of the Tutu family, clergy and various significant dignitaries gathered at the St George's Cathedral in Cape Town's CBD, to bid a final farewell to the late Desmond Tutu on Saturday. 

Tutu was awarded a category one state funeral to end off a week of mourning and tribute events - the highest honour South Africans are able to receive after passing. 

The Archbishop's eldest daughter, Mpho Tutu van Furth said that whilst the family was experiencing deep grief, they recognized that this is not their pain alone and that it brought the family great comfort to know that they were a part of a community in mourning. 

"I would like to see my father's memory kept alive in the wealth of a nation shared to end poverty. I would like to see my father's memory kept alive in every person's absolute entitlement to be treated with utmost dignity," she added.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said that despite government involvement, all consideration was given to the Church to conduct the funeral traditions - a rare occurrence in a state funeral, according to the president. 

"If Archbishop Desmond Tutu were here, he would have said, 'Hey! Hey! Why are you looking so glum, so unhappy?' He would have wanted to elicit a smile from amongst all of us. That was the type of person that he was."

Ramaphosa added that "It is only a few amongst us, the rarest of souls, who attain the stature of the global icon during their lifetime."

Following the procession, Tutu's remains were accompanied by the family to be 'aquamated' - an eco-friendly alternative to cremation. 

His final remains will be interred at St George's Cathedral.