Cape Town cathedral bells will ring every day to honour Desmond Tutu

South Africa announces Cape Town cathedral bells will ring for ten minutes from noon every day until Desmond Tutu’s funeral on New Year’s Day

  • St. George’s Anglican Cathedral will honour Tutu with a daily tribute
  • Mourning South Africans are laying flowers at the cathedral where he preached 
  • The veteran anti-apartheid bishop died in hospital aged 90 on Sunday

The cathedral where Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu preached in Cape Town will ring its bells for ten minutes every day until his funeral on New Year’s Day, South Africa announced today.

St. George’s Anglican Cathedral will honour the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate with a tribute at midday for the coming five days. 

‘We ask all who hear the bells to pause their busy schedules for a moment in tribute to Archbishop Tutu,’ said the current Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba.

The cathedral where Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu preached in Cape Town will ring its bells for ten minutes every day until his funeral

A woman is comforted outside the historical home of the late Theologian with South Africa in mourning

St. George’s Anglican Cathedral (pictured) will honour the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate with a tribute at midday for the coming five days

Several events in South Africa are being planned to honour Tutu’s life.

Tutu’s body will lie in state at the cathedral in Cape Town on Friday before a requiem mass is held Saturday, Makgoba said. 

In addition, an ecumenical service will be held for Tutu on Wednesday in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria.

South Africans are laying flowers at the cathedral, in front of Tutu’s home in Cape Town’s Milnerton area, and in front of his former home in Soweto.

The activist prelate worked against South Africa’s apartheid regime that oppressed the country’s Black majority. 

Following the end of apartheid in 1994, when South Africa became a democracy, Tutu chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that documented atrocities and sought to promote national reconciliation. 

Tutu also became one of the world’s most prominent religious leaders to champion LGBTQ rights. 

Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba (pictured today) said Tutu’s body will lie in state at the cathedral on Friday

‘He knew in his soul that good would triumph over evil, that justice would prevail over iniquity, and that reconciliation would prevail over revenge and recrimination. He knew that apartheid would end, that democracy would come,’ South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said of Tutu, in a nationally broadcast address Sunday night.

‘He knew that our people would be free. By the same measure, he was convinced, even to the end of his life, that poverty, hunger and misery can be defeated; that all people can live together in peace, security and comfort,’ said Ramaphosa who added that South Africa’s flags will be flown at half-staff this week.

Ramaphosa urged all South Africans to ‘pay respects to the departed and to celebrate life with the exuberance and the purpose of our beloved Archbishop. May we follow in his footsteps.

‘May we too be worthy inheritors of the mantle of service, of selflessness, of courage, and of principled solidarity with the poor and marginalized.’

The Cape Town City Hall is bathed in purple light to honour the iconic anti-apartheid figure

Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late 1990s and in recent years was hospitalised on several occasions to treat infections associated with his cancer treatment.

In a statement on behalf of the Tutu family yesterday, the Office of the Archbishop of South Africa said he, ‘died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Centre in Cape Town this morning.’ They did not give details on the cause of death.

In 1984 Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent opposition to apartheid. A decade later, he witnessed the ends of that regime and chaired a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to unearth atrocities committed during those dark days.

He preached against the tyranny of white minority and even after its end, never wavered in his fight for a fairer South Africa, calling the black political elite to account with as much vigour as he had the white Afrikaners.

In his final years, he regretted that his dream of a ‘Rainbow Nation’ had not yet come true.

The Queen has sent a message of condolence on the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Pictured: Her Majesty and The Duke of Edinburgh meeting Archbishop Tutu in 2004 following the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey

Tributes from around the world poured in on Sunday morning following the announcement.

The Queen said she and the whole royal family are ‘deeply saddened’ by the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who she said ‘tirelessly championed human rights in South Africa and across the world’.

In a statement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said Archbishop Desmond Tutu would be ‘remembered for his optimism, his moral clarity, and his joyful spirit’.

They said: ‘He was an icon for racial justice and beloved across the world.

‘It was only two years ago that he held our son, Archie, while we were in South Africa – ‘Arch and The Arch’ he had joked, his infectious laughter ringing through the room, relaxing anyone in his presence.

‘He remained a friend and will be sorely missed by all.’

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is reported to be ‘heartbroken’ over the death of the Archbishop.

A statement by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden read: ‘On this morning after Christmas, we are heartbroken to learn of the passing of a true servant of God and of the people, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela – after his released from Robben Island Prison in 1990, walks hand-in-hand with Desmond Tutu

‘We were blessed to spend time with him on several occasions over the past many years. His courage and moral clarity helped inspire our commitment to change American policy toward the repressive Apartheid regime in South Africa. 

‘On behalf of the Biden family, we send our deepest condolences to his wife Leah and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

‘And on behalf of the people of the United States, we send our deepest condolences to the people of South Africa who are mourning the loss of one of their most important founding fathers.’

Archbishop of Canterbury said Tutu ’embodied the hope and joy that were the foundations of his life,’ while Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab described Archbishop Desmond Tutu as a ‘truly great figure’.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Archbishop Desmond Tutu would be remembered for his leadership and humour. He said: ‘I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

‘He was a critical figure in the fight against apartheid and in the struggle to create a new South Africa – and will be remembered for his spiritual leadership and irrepressible good humour.’ 

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