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Massive crowds and vigils across South Africa to bid farewell to Tutu

Johannesburg, Dec. 29 (EFE).- Hundreds of South Africans took part in services and vigils held across the country on Wednesday to pay homage and bid farewell to Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, who died on Dec. 26. The main ceremony today took place in the afternoon at Cape Town City Hall (southwest) – the city where Tutu is Archbishop Emeritus and his residence – in the form of an interfaith service attended by representatives of the family and the Tutu Foundation, as well as the local government. “The family is very grateful for the outpouring of love and support. We feel this makes the pain of separation easier, but it also reflects the example of the man whose life we ​​celebrate,” said activist Mamphela Ramphele, on behalf of people close to Tutu. The event features musical performances and interventions by representatives of different religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or traditional African religions, among others. “The Archbishop is clear in his belief that ‘God belongs to all’ and the city will honor his spirit of inclusivity,” Cape Town’s City Council said in hosting the event in a statement. Also, this morning he highlighted the act of prayer held on the street where Tutu lived – the old ghetto of Soweto (southwest of Johannesburg) – during the late 1970s and early 1980s, when it was one of the bloodiest of the segregated racist regimes. of “apartheid”. “It was Archbishop Tutu who coined the phrase ‘rainbow nation’, describing what we are as a nation”, Mpho Phalatse, mayor of Johannesburg, emphasized during the action, having recalled that two Nobel laureates live on the same street (Vilakazi street). : Tutu and Nelson Mandela. “We saw them walking and embarking on the journey of the dream they had for this nation, the dream of a peaceful South Africa, the dream of a united and peaceful South Africa,” Phalatse said. This Wednesday also saw tributes in other parts of the country, such as in the Free State region, where the local Anglican diocese celebrated a mass in memory of the late Nobel Peace Prize in the city of Bloemfontein. Tributes continued like this for the fourth day in a row in South Africa to say goodbye to one of the most beloved and respected figures in recent history. After anticipating that large numbers of South Africans would come to pay their respects when Tutu’s coffin was opened before a state funeral next Saturday, the Tutu Foundation and authorities decided today that the public chapel burning will last two days and start tomorrow, limiting it to Friday instead. . Awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle against the racial oppression of “apartheid”, Tutu is considered one of the key figures in contemporary South African history. His career was marked by his constant defense of human rights, something that led him to distance himself on many occasions from the ecclesiastical hierarchy to publicly defend positions such as homosexual rights or euthanasia. In recent years, he has stayed away from public life due to his advanced age and the health problems he has endured over the years, including prostate cancer. (c) EFE Agency

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