Archbishop Tutu 'lit up the world': Tributes paid at funeral for anti-apartheid hero

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  • Desmond Tutu
    Desmond Tutu
    South African churchman, politician, archbishop, Nobel Prize winner (1931–2021)
  • Justin Welby
    British Anglican bishop and 105th Archbishop of Canterbury (born 1956)

South Africa is saying farewell to Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the state funeral of the anti-apartheid hero.

Tutu, who died aged 90 on 26 December, helped spearhead the fight against white minority rule and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 in recognition of his non-violent opposition to the regime.

His funeral service, taking place in St George's Chapel in Cape Town, follows days of mourning in which hundreds paid their respects by singing and laying flowers.

In a video message at ceremony, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, described how people globally had been inspired by Tutu.

Rev Welby said: "Archbishop Tutu lit up the world... that light has lit up countries globally that were struggling with fear, conflict, persecution, oppression, where the marginalised suffered.

"He never ceased to shed light. His light was the light of Christ, and that is why his light will go on shining."

He described Tutu and the former South African president Nelson Mandela as "two giant figures that towered over the world".

At the cathedral, the archbishop's daughter, Reverend Nontombi Naomi Tutu, said: "Thank you daddy for the many ways you showed us love, for the many times you challenged us, for the many times you comforted us."

Tutu, who was South Africa's first black archbishop, requested "no lavish spending" on his funeral and even "asked that the coffin be the cheapest available", his foundation said.

His body is expected to be aquamated after the funeral - a process which involves dissolving the remains in a solution that is considered to be a more environmentally friendly alternative to cremation.

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