On Saturday, President Cyril Ramaphosa lauded the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu as “our moral compass and national conscience” as South Africa bade farewell at a state funeral to a hero of the struggle against apartheid. Ramaphosa stated, “Our departed father was a crusader in the struggle for freedom, for justice, for equality and for peace, not just in South Africa, the country of his birth, but around the world.”
Family, friends and dignitaries gathered for Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s official state funeral on New Year’s Day in Cape Town, capping a week of events honoring a man long considered to be the moral compass of South Africa.
The president then handed over the national flag to Tutu’s widow, Nomalizo Leah, known as “Mama Leah.” Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1984 for his non-violent opposition to white minority rule, died last Sunday aged 90. His widow sat in a wheelchair in the front row of the congregation, draped in a purple scarf, the colour of her husband’s clerical robes. Ramaphosa wore a watching necktie. Tutu’s body will be cremated and then his ashes interred behind the cathedral’s pulpit in a private ceremony.