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South African church declares five-day mourning for Desmond Tutu

By Esther Kalu

South African church has declared that the bells of Cape Town’ St George’s Cathedral would toll for five days in honour of South African anti-apartheid hero Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who died on Sunday aged 90.

The Nobel prize winner Tutu, preached against the tyranny of the white minority and was revered as his nation’s moral conscience by both Black and white, led numerous campaigns and marches against apartheid from St George’s steps. It became known as the “People’s Cathedral” and a powerful symbol of democracy.

Through a statement released, Yesterday, by the Archbishop Tutu IP Trust and the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, The Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, asked all who hear the bells to pause their busy schedules for a moment in tribute of Archbishop Tutu.

“The bells will kick off a week of mourning for Tutu, who died “peacefully” at a nursing home in Cape Town, prompting an outpouring of tributes from around the world.” he said.

The statement read in part: “A long-time friend of Nelson Mandela, Tutu won the Nobel prize in 1984 in recognition of his non-violent opposition to white minority rule. A decade later, he witnessed the end of that regime and chaired a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to unearth the atrocities committed under it. read more

Five feet five inches (1.68 metres) tall and with an infectious giggle, he later called the Black political elite to account with as much feistiness as he had the Afrikaners, but his enduring spirit of reconciliation always shone through and he never stopped fighting for a “Rainbow Nation”. 

The Diocese of Pretoria and the South African Council of Churches will hold a memorial service in the capital city on Wednesday.

On Thursday evening, the Archbishop of Tutu IP Trust and Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation will host an “intimate evening” with friends of the Tutus, their statement said.

On Friday, Archbishop Tutu will lie in state at St George’s ahead of his funeral service on Saturday, led by Archbishop Makgoba.

“We express our most sincere appreciation to people and organisations across the country and the world for the outpouring of love, respect and condolences that followed the Arch’s passing,”

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