Cape Town residents turn out in numbers to bid Tutu farewell

Cape Town residents queued at Government Avenue early on Thursday morning to say their goodbyes.

Cape Town residents queue in Government Avenue on 30 December 2021 to say their goodbyes the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - People from across the city of Cape Town have headed to St George's Cathedral to pay their respects to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Cape Town residents queued at Government Avenue early on Thursday morning to say their goodbyes.

The body will arrive again on Friday and people are able to view the coffin until 5pm on Friday evening ahead of the funeral on Saturday.

When Archbishop Tutu's body was moved into the church on Thursday, his family was the first to pay their respects.

Members of the public then lined up and were let in, where they viewed the plain simple wooden coffin with rope handles as Tutu wanted his coffin to be "the cheapest available".

Some were left emotional while walking through the foyer.

While placing flowers on the fence outside the church, Cecile Mel said that he was a man of integrity and faith.

"The icons of Bishop Tutu and Nelson Mandela are like parents to us, they've run the race and they've run it well," she said.

And here is what others who visited the church had to say.

"He was very consistent, he spoke out and I just hope that we heed his call and also pick up the baton," one mourner said.

Another added: "My thought goes back to the 80s - the marches, the whole struggle. And when I graduated, I had the privilege of being capped by him."

"Desmond Tutu was my hero. He did a lot for South Africa. He deserves to rest. He was the father of the nation," one other mourner said.

Members of the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative gathered outside the church on Thursday to pay their respects to the late Desmond Tutu.

Chairperson Berry Behr said that he showed people the truth of living with compassion, courage and values.

"he had the courage and the compassion that will live in our hearts forever. We remember him as being instrumental in bringing the charter for compassion, not only to the world but here to Cape Town," she said.

Rashied Omar from the Claremont Mosque said that Tutu was an inspiration for the vibrant interfaith movement.

"We want to be nice to each other but if we don't think about the marginalised people on the Cape Flats and those who are marginalised, then we are not living up to the true prophetic words of Tutu. The prophetic words didn't end with the demise of apartheid, he held the ANC government accountable," he said.

The funeral will take place at 10am on Saturday.