Nontombi Naomi Tutu: My father was ready to meet God

The daughter of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu fondly remembered her father in an interview with the media.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu addresses an audience at the opening of Cape Town's Nelson Mandela Legacy Exhibition on 30 June 2013. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The daughter of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said that her father was both ready and willing to meet his maker.

The Arch passed away on Sunday at the age of 90.

"My siblings and I were not there when he passed but we had been with him the day before and he was ready. He went to meet his God. He was ready and willing," his daughter Nontombi Naomi Tutu said.

She told the BBC that her father was a hugger who never failed to show his affection.

"I will miss knowing that this is the place to be hugged. He was a hugger. Anybody that knows him knows that he hugged," she said.

She added that she embraced him after his death just as she did while he was alive.

"Even when we went and we saw him lying in the bed after he had died, we climbed onto the bed to hug him because that is so much who he was," she said.

She also recalled the day that her father saved a young man from being burned alive as her "proudest moment".

Nontombi Tutu said that she was shown video footage of a funeral on the outskirts of Johannesburg in July 1985, where mourners were beating and kicking a defenceless man as he lay on the ground, curled up in a foetal position.

The man had been accused of being an apartheid collaborator at a time when South Africa was in a state of emergency and banned liberation parties, like the African National Congress (ANC) were trying to overthrow white minority rule.

The man was doused with petrol and moments away from being necklaced when Tutu and other clergy stepped in to push back the mob.

His daughter told Sky News that her father's courage was unmatched.

"For me, one of the proudest moments was at the funeral when the young people were going to kill the person who had been identified. To see that and to see him go in... there were so many things striking about it - the one was that he had the courage to go into the crowd and say 'no, this is not how we do this' but the other was that the young people listened," she said.

Events are being held to honour the anti-apartheid hero in the build-up to his funeral on Saturday at St George's Cathedral in Cape Town.