It’s Cape Town, South Africa. Desmond Tutu is laid to rest in a state funeral in South Africa, where he was born and raised. Under a thick layer of clouds and rain, people in black walked into the cathedral at 10am. They passed the simple wooden casket of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who died last month at the age of 95. There were speakers at St. George’s, where the small cleric spent many years preaching against the apartheid government of South Africa. “Behold Our Great High Priest” ended the choir’s performance at noon. By then, the sun had broken through the fog and shone through stained-glass windows, illuminating this city’s famous Table Mountain.
That’s what a meteorological analogy would have looked like to Tutu. He is known for his global campaign to end South Africa’s racist policies and for coining the term “Rainbow Nation” to describe South Africa’s transition to a multiracial democracy, which was called “the Rainbow Nation” at the time. Eventually, Desmond Tutu became a moral compass for a country that was trying to figure out how to deal with the political messes and social inequalities of the post-apartheid era. He died on December 26 at the age of 90.
Dozens of people had been waiting for days for the service at St. George’s, the oldest Anglican church in Southern Africa, which was turned into a safe place for people who wanted to fight against white-minority rule in the 1980s. Leah Desmond Tutu, the widow of Nelson Mandela, and her four children were among the 100 people who could go to the cathedral because of Covid-19 rules. As a former union leader and anti-apartheid activist, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke at the funeral of Nelson Mandela. He said that Desmond Tutu message of peaceful coexistence was just as important for the country’s future as it was when the country was going through a rough transition to democracy. “He never stopped fighting, he never stopped speaking out, and he never stopped caring,” Mr. Ramaphosa said, according to the New York Times.
The death of Desmond Tutu, who also played an important postapartheid role as the head of the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, marks the death of the last of South Africa’s top antiapartheid leaders who died before his death. If you live in South Africa, you may have heard that the country’s most developed economy is in trouble. The Covid-19 virus has hit the country’s economy again and again. There are still racial tensions, and Nelson Mandela used to lead the African National Congress.
There are still a lot of people living in poverty in South Africa almost 30 years after white-minority rule came to an end. About 80% of the country’s people are black.
In recent years, Desmond Tutu has been critical of the ANC, which has been in power since 1994, for mismanagement and corruption. In 2017, he joined protests across the country against former President Jacob Zuma.
Mr. Zuma, who was replaced by Mr. Ramaphosa in 2018, was jailed because he didn’t show up for an investigation into corruption while he was in office.
In the eulogy, Mr. Ramaphosa said that problems and challenges are all around us. The problems of poverty, inequality, racism, homophobia, violence against women and other gender-based crimes, crime, and corruption have made many people unhappy.
It’s a good time to look back at how South Africa’s postapartheid politics haven’t worked out, says Frank Chikane, a longtime ANC figure and priest.
Remember that where you are now is not where you thought you’d be when you fought for your freedom, he said.
That’s what the small crowds at Grand Parade, where Mr. Mandela and Desmond Tutu stood together in 1990 when Mr. Mandela gave his first speech after 27 years in prison, agreed with. They watched the service on a big screen.
There is an unemployed 43-year-old from the city’s outskirts who said that “He was a man who brought us together.” : “I think we should stop and think about what he said again.” So that it doesn’t fade.
Desmond Tutu, who was known in South Africa as “the Arch,” asked for a simple funeral ceremony. Carnations sent by his family were the only flowers in the church. A wooden coffin with no paint on it has lay in state at St. George’s Church in South Africa since Thursday. One of the priests in the area said that public access to the coffin had to be extended, “out of fear there might be a rush.”
People across the country were sad for a week before the low-key funeral. Church bells have rung at noon across the country every day, and flags have flown at half-staff. This is how it has worked: When his favourite cricket team played against India in the first test match, they wore black arm bands. Table Mountain was lit up in purple, the colour of the archbishop’s robes, in honour of him.
Tweeted by Lukhanyo Vangqa, a South African analyst, was that the symbolism and simplicity of Mr. Tutu’s coffin was a “powerful message” to the ANC, which has a “emerging culture of opulence and decadence.”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa won the election last year on a promise to fight government corruption. He is now facing what the president calls “an orchestrated attack.”
Senior party officials who support Mr. Zuma are openly questioning the president’s economic plan, which is based on attracting foreign investment after five years of declines in per capita GDP. Some people are in favour of populist economic policies, like using the central bank to pay for projects like new roads and bridges.
South Africa came into the pandemic from a weak position that has been made worse by lockdowns and travel bans. Emerging markets have used the last decade to reduce inequalities and grow their middle classes.
On Sunday, people in Cape Town said that Mr. Tutu’s message was more important than ever. In retirement, he kept up his fight for social justice, expanding his efforts to HIV/AIDS, LGBT rights, and climate change, even as he was battling cancer.
For the country: “He was very down-to-earth. He did what he did.
When Celiwe Tsele, a 41-year-old bank worker, came to pay her respects, she said: “For the guys now, power is the most important thing.”
He’ll be buried after the service at St. George’s. Daughter: The love for her father “warmed the cockles of our hearts,” said his daughter.
People share him with the world, so “you share some of the love you had for him.”