South African govt to give late Desmond Tutu ‘Special Official Funeral’

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Late Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be given a ‘special official funeral’, the government of South Africa has said.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa has, as a mark of deep respect, declared that the late Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu be accorded a Special Official Funeral – Category 1,” the minister in the presidency, Mondli Gungubele, said in a statement.

The Special Official Funeral will take place at St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town, on January 1, 2022.

Desmond Tutu 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.

He also served as the general secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and as chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“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,” Mr Gungubele said.

This designation is enabled by the State, Official and Provincial Official Funeral Policy Manual.

The distinguishing features of a Special Official Funeral – Category 1 include ceremonial elements by the South African National Defence Force.

On this particular occasion and based on the late archbishop’s wishes, the South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF) ceremonial content will be limited to the handing over of the National Flag to Mam Leah Tutu.

Mr Gungubele added that the funeral will be held in compliance with the provisions of the COVID-19 health regulations that apply under Adjusted Alert Level 1 of the national state of disaster.

Mr Tutu, an Anglican archbishop, died in Cape Town at the age of 90.

He died at the Oasis Frail Care Center in Cape Town, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Trust said in a statement Sunday.

READ ALSO: OBITUARY: Desmond Tutu: A Life of Tenacity, Constancy and Courage

He had been hospitalised several times since 2015, after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997.

Mr Tutu was an Anglican cleric and theologian, known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist.

He was the Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then the Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996, in both cases being the first black African to hold the position.

Mr Tutu was known for his intolerance towards bad governance and inhuman treatment.

He was very prominent for his role in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and his usage of the pulpit to speak truth to power.

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