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South Africa dismisses Desmond Tutu as “freedom crusader”

South Africa dismisses Desmond Tutu as “freedom crusader”

Desmond Tutu was a "crossed for freedom, justice and peace"said the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, at the state funeral held today to give the last solemn goodbye to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

With a requiem mass celebrated in the Anglican Cathedral of St. George in Cape Town (southwest), the country fired Tutu, who died on December 26 in that same city at the age of 90.

Ramaphosa underscored the archbishop’s support for a long list of causes, which has led to "climate activist groups and LGBTQIA +" have paid tribute these days to who was "a humble and courageous human being who spoke for the oppressed (…) of the world", according to the president.

Following the will of the deceased, who had requested that money not be spent unnecessarily on his funerals, the chosen coffin was a very simple wooden model and during the ceremony no more speeches were produced than that of Ramaphosa.

He did make a small intervention through a video, however, the Primate of the Anglican Church and Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who stressed that Tutu "brought the light" when people "they were in the dark".

Naomi Tutu, daughter of the archbishop and Anglican reverend herself, appreciated the expressions of affection received during these days.

"We shared (Tutu) with the world and you shared part of the love you felt for him with us"Desmond Tutu’s daughter pointed out, visibly excited.

Retired Bishop Michael Nuttall, who worked with the deceased during his time as Archbishop of Cape Town – where Tutu was the first black person to be appointed to the position in 1986 – was commissioned to deliver the sermon.

"Small in physical stature, he was a giant among us morally and spiritually. His faith was authentic, not false or reluctant"Nuttall noted.

Some of the readings of the mass were carried out by other prominent figures or close to Tutu, such as former Irish President Mary Robinson, Mozambican activist Graça Machel -widow of Nelson Mandela- or the Minister of Infrastructure and former Mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille.

Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his fight against the racial oppression of the "apartheid", Tutu is considered one of the key figures in contemporary South African history.

His career was marked by a constant defense of human rights, something that led him to distance himself on numerous occasions from the ecclesiastical hierarchy to openly defend positions such as homosexual rights or euthanasia.

In recent years, he had stayed away from public life due to his advanced age and health problems that he had suffered for years, including prostate cancer.


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