S. Africa says farewell to 'national conscience' Tutu

South Africa bode farewell to late Archbishop Desmond Tutu at his state funeral on Saturday (January 1).

The service took place in Cape Town's St George's Cathedral, where for years he preached against racial injustice.

Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1984 for his non-violent opposition to white minority rule, died last Sunday aged 90.

Delivering the main eulogy, President Cyril Ramaphosa lauded the anti-apartheid hero as a "crusader in the struggle for freedom".

"Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been our moral compass but he's also been our national conscience. Even after the advent of democracy, he did not hesitate to draw attention, often harshly, to our short comings as leaders of the democratic state."

Ramaphosa then handed over the national flag to Tutu's widow, Nomalizo Leah, known as "Mama Leah."

She sat in a wheelchair in the front row of the congregation, draped in a purple scarf, the color of her husband's clerical robes.

Ramaphosa wore a matching necktie.

Tutu's daughter, Reverend Nontombi Naomi Tutu, also paid tribute.

"Many of the messages we received have said 'thank you for sharing him with the world'. Well it actually is a two-way street. Because we shared him with the world, you shared part of the love you held for him with us. And so we are thankful."

Tutu's body will be cremated and then his ashes interred behind the cathedral's pulpit in a private ceremony.

Widely revered across South Africa's racial and cultural divides for his moral integrity, Tutu never stopped fighting for his vision of a "Rainbow Nation", in which all races in post-apartheid South Africa could live in harmony.

Earlier this week, hundreds of well-wishers queued to pay their last respects, as his body lay in state at the cathedral.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting