President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the public to honour the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu by taking up his campaign for social justice.
He was speaking at Tutu’s Special Official Funeral Category One service at the St George’s Cathedral where his remains will also be interred after his cremation.
The funeral was attended by several dignitaries including former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and his wife Zanele, Kgalema Motlanthe and his wife Gugu, former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Lesotho’s King Letsie 111, Reverend Allan Boesak and Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, among others.
The Archbishop passed away last weekend at the age of 90.
Delivering the eulogy, Ramaphosa said: “The most fitting tribute we can pay to him is to take up the cause of social justice for which he tirelessly campaigned throughout his life. Arch Tutu has left a formidable legacy and we are enormously diminished by his passing.”
Ramaphosa expressed gratitude towards Tutu’s efforts in helping build the nation.
“Though we say goodbye to him today with the heaviest of hearts, we salute our beloved Arch for all that he did to help build this nation. We thank him for giving us hope, for reminding us of our responsibilities as a people and as leaders, for giving us a reason to believe that we are and can be a true rainbow nation that he spoke about.”
The President says Tutu has been the country’s moral compass and national conscience.
He says the arch was an exemplary leader.
“Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been our moral compass and national conscience. Even after the advent of democracy, he did not hesitate to draw attention, often harshly, to our shortcomings as leaders of the democratic State.”
“He saw our country as a ‘rainbow nation,’ emerging from the shadow of apartheid, united in its diversity, with freedom and equal rights for all. The Arch bequeathed us many things. The importance of having the courage of one’s convictions, solidarity with the oppressed, delivering on the promises made by the Constitution, and many others.”
Meanwhile, former Dean of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and retired Bishop of Natal Michael Nuttall says Tutu’s response to injustices was in his human nature.
Nuttal who is a long-time friend of the Arch delivered the sermon at Tutu’s funeral at the St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town.
“Desmond was not on some crusade of personal aggrandisement or egotism, though he often and disarmingly admitted that he loved to be loved, and what is wrong with that? Do we not all love to be loved? It is a human craving from the moment we are born. But no: Desmond’s response to grave injustice came from the depths of his being and often in response to what he called the divine nudge,” explains Nuttall. -Additional reporting by Ntebo Mokobo.
Below is the live stream of the funeral: