The funeral service of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu has taken place at St George’s Cathedral on Saturday 1 January 2022.

Former Presidents, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe as well the king of Lesotho, His Majesty Letsie III attended the service.

The daughter of the late archbishop, Reverend Naomi Tutu addressed the congregation on behalf of the Tutu family. She thanked everyone for the week of prayers and memorial services for her father. She said: “I am here to convey our thanks. I want to first apologise as a family we have received many messages and we haven’t been able to respond. We have just been overwhelmed.”

She added: “We shared him with the world, and you shared part of the love you had for him with us. We are thankful that all of you have gathered in your many places, in person or via the wonders of technology, to celebrate daddy’s life this week.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the eulogy: “This term rainbow nation that he bequeathed is the greatest gift to our nation. When he first spoke about us as a rainbow, South Africa was a different place and going through a dark time.”

Ramaphosa added that South Africans need to continue Arch Tutu’s legacy: “Archbishop Desmond Tutu was our moral compass, but he was also our national conscience. Even after the advent of democracy he did not hesitate to draw attention, often harshly, to our shortcomings as leaders of the democratic state. He saw our country as a rainbow national emerging from the shadow of apartheid, united in its diversity with freedom and equal rights for all.”

Archbishop Tutu will be cremated and then interred at the High Altar at St George’s Cathedral in the Cape Town City Centre.