Desmond Tutu: Archbishop's body lies in state in 'cheapest coffin available'

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  • Desmond Tutu
    Desmond Tutu
    South African churchman, politician, archbishop, Nobel Prize winner (1931–2021)

The coffin carrying the body of Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been returned to a morgue after lying-in-state in St George's Cathedral in Cape Town.

Mourners will be invited to pay their last respects to South Africa's anti-apartheid hero for one more day on Friday before his state funeral on Saturday.

Tutu's body had been lying-in-state in the cathedral where he preached against racial injustice.

Hundreds of mourners stood in long queues on Thursday, some singing, others carrying flowers and writing on tribute books in memory of the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

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

Emotional family members met the coffin outside the entrance on Thursday, where six black-robed clergy acting as pallbearers carried it inside to an inner sanctuary amid a cloud of incense from the Anglican thurible.

The South African icon who was loved far and beyond his native land

'A patriot without equal': Desmond Tutu, a man on principle and a voice for the voiceless

Tutu is widely revered across racial and cultural divides in South Africa for his moral rectitude and principled fight against white-minority rule.

He died aged 90 on Sunday 26 December.

His death represents a huge loss for South Africa, where many called him "Tata" - meaning father.

Church bells have been rung every day in his honour since his death and tributes and prayers have poured in from around the world.

Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 in recognition of his non-violent opposition to South Africa's apartheid regime.

A decade later, he witnessed the end of that regime and chaired a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help unearth state-sponsored atrocities during that era.

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