Speaking outside Rosebank Catholic Church in Johannesburg, Janet Adebayo-Omesa said Tutu was there for all African people.
"It's actually very sad and I don't think not only for South Africa but for Africa as a continent. We have lost a great icon, a father," she added.
In 1984 Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent opposition to apartheid. A decade later, he witnessed the ends of that regime and he chaired a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to unearth atrocities committed during those dark days.