South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared that the late Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu be accorded a Special Official Funeral – Category 1.
The Archbishop, who was a globally venerated theologian, anti-apartheid campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, passed away on Sunday, 26 December 2021.
The Special Official Funeral will take place in St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town, on New Year’s Day, Saturday, 1 January 2022.
Desmond Tutu was the first black cleric to be elected as the Bishop of Johannesburg before being inaugurated in 1986 as the first black cleric to become Archbishop of Cape Town.
He also served as the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and as Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
In recognition of the late Archbishop Emeritus’ distinguished life and invaluable contribution to the nation, President Ramaphosa has designated the late leader’s funeral as a Special Official Funeral – Category 1.
This designation is enabled by the State, Official and Provincial Official Funeral Policy Manual.
The distinguishing features of a Special Official Funeral – Category 1 include ceremonial elements by the South African National Defence Force.
On this particular occasion and based on the late Archbishop’s wishes, the SANDF ceremonial content will be limited to the handing over of the National Flag to Mama Leah Tutu.
As part of this funeral designation, the National Flag will be half-masted throughout the country and at South African diplomatic missions worldwide from sunset today, 28 December 2022. until the evening of the funeral.
The funeral will be held in compliance with the provisions of the COVID-19 health regulations that apply under Adjusted Alert Level 1 of the national state of disaster.
While the ANC said the official funeral is a « mark of deep respect » for Tutu, not everyone is impressed with the ANC exploiting Tutu’s death:
Archbishop Desmond Tutu publicly and loudly berated Cyril Ramaphosas’ ANC for their rampant corruption and betrayal of South Africans. Today, Ramaphosa and the ANC capitalise on his passing. Utterly shameful. ??
— Simon Grindrod (@SimonPGrindrod) December 27, 2021