As the bells tolled at St George’s Cathedral today, a steady stream of mourners arrived to pay respects to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
The Arch, as he was fondly known, had been fighting prostate cancer for about two decades and died aged 90 in a nursing home on Sunday December 26.
SA Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said the funeral would take place on Saturday at 10am.
The body will lie in state at the cathedral from 7am to 7pm on Friday.
The cathedral’s bells will toll for 10 minutes a day every day at noon until Friday in honour of the man who coined the phrase “the Rainbow Nation” and was affectionately known as “the Arch”.
Archbishop Makgoba said memorial services would be held across the country throughout the week, including the cathedral at noon to allow as many as possible to take part in the celebration of the Arch’s life.
Appealing to people to attend events in their own towns and cities, he said 400 people, including 100 clergy, had confirmed their attendance at the funeral.
He said the cathedral can accommodate 500 people but Covid-19 restrictions and protocols only allow 200 people to enter at a time.
“People will be allowed to enter as those inside leave. We appeal to people not board buses to head to Cape Town, but to rather celebrate the Arch’s life from the places where they live,” he said.
Archbishop Makgoba said the City of Cape Town would hold a memorial service and special tribute at the City Hall on Wednesday at 6pm which would be attended by Arch’s family.
A list of all memorial services, including those being held across southern Africa, can be found on the Anglican Church of SA website.
The Arch’s ashes will be interred in the vicinity of the high altar at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town.