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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Tutu Wanted His Coffin To Be ‘The Cheapest Available’

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu was ‘very clear on his wishes for his funeral’ and wanted ‘no ostentatiousness or lavish spending’, his trust says.

Anti-apartheid activist and religious leader Archbishop Desmond asked that his coffin be the “cheapest available”.

This is according to Mamphela Ramphele, co-chairperson of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu IP Trust, and Mr Niclas Kjellstrom-Matseke, chairperson of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, in a joint statement on Tuesday.

The pair said Tutu, who died on Sunday aged 90, wanted no ostentatiousness or lavish spending.

“He asked that the coffin be the cheapest available, and that a bouquet of carnations from his family be the only flowers in the cathedral,” they said.

On Tuesday the presidency announced that Tutu’s funeral, set to be held on Saturday at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, would be a “special category 1” official service.

Minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele said based on the late archbishop’s wishes, “the SANDF ceremonial content will be limited to the handing over of the national flag to Mam’ Leah Tutu [his wife].”

The statement by the Archbishop Desmond IP Trust and the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation also confirmed that he would lie in state for an extra day and will now include Thursday and Friday.

It added that he was “very clear on his wishes for his funeral.

“He wanted no ostentatiousness or lavish spending,” the statement read.

Confirmed events for the days leading up to the funeral of Archbishop Desmond Tutu include:

  • an interfaith memorial service arranged by the City of Cape Town on Wednesday;
  • an ecumenical thanksgiving service at St Cyprian’s Cathedral in Kimberley at 10am on Thursday;
  • an ecumenical and interfaith service at 11am on Thursday at St Albans Cathedral in Pretoria;
  • a memorial service hosted by the Diocese of Johannesburg in St Mary’s Cathedral at 11am on Thursday;
  • a gathering of friends hosted by the Archbishop Tutu IP Trust and the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation at the Old Granary in Cape Town on Thursday evening; and
  • a memorial service at St Mary’s Cathedral in Gqeberha at 10am on Friday.

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