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Prominent SA figures, dignitaries pay their respects at the Tutu family home

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is a South African politician and former United Nations official arriving at the Desmond Tutu house. Picture Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is a South African politician and former United Nations official arriving at the Desmond Tutu house. Picture Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.

Published Dec 28, 2021

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Cape Town - Friends, prominent figures and dignitaries, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, flocked to the Tutu family home in Milnerton on Monday to pay their respects to the family.

Outside the home, heavy police and law enforcement were seen, while the streets leading to the house had been closed, including the open space in front of the home where tents have been erected.

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Dignitaries who graced the homestead include former finance minister Trevor Manuel, former executive director of UN Women and former deputy president of South Africa Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman, City mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and others.

Sooliman said on arrival at the home they were received by a visibly emotional Mrs Tutu.

“Upon realising that she just had an emotional moment, we apologised for imposing but she said, ’my friend, why are you apologising? The soul of Bishop Tutu will be happy that you are in his house today. He loved and was very fond of you’.

“She said she doesn't get emotional moments often, but just before we arrived they had brought his sandals and caps and from the hospital, hence the emotional moment,” said Sooliman.

President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the house of Archbishop Desmond Tutu n Milnerton on Monday. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the house of Archbishop Desmond Tutu n Milnerton on Monday. Picture Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.

Manuel said the family was battling, including Mama Leah who has been with the Bishop for decades and they were closer than any couple could be. He said even for her, the separation was painful.

“It is a long-standing relationship that I have experienced great love from and it goes back over almost 30 years. Even though the Arch has been quite ill over the years and his health has been in rapid decline, notwithstanding that, departing is still unbelievably difficult. It is difficult for all of us and more for the family. However, I feel privileged in the relationship that I have enjoyed with the Archbishop,” he said.

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Dignitaries who graced the homestead include former finance minister Trevor Manuel. Picture Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.
Dignitaries who graced the homestead include former finance minister Trevor Manuel. Picture Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.

Struggle veteran Cheryl Carolus said while Archbishop Tutu’s passing at his age was not a surprise, it had left a huge hole in their lives, and in the country and the world.

Carolus said there was a paucity of moral leadership today and he would be missed.

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“He was fearless and courageous. He had qualities and characteristics of humanness, empathy, unconditional love, and care for those who are vulnerable and need the most, that those of us who have so often forget about.

“I hope we will have the courage to emulate his courage, be brave about the simple things to make this world a better place,” she said.

Carolus said while she was enormously sad, she was also grateful for the strong, courageous and impish Desmond Tutu.

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Struggle veteran Cheryl Carolus said while Archbishop Tutu’s passing at his age was not a surprise, it had left a huge hole in their lives, and in the country and the world. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.

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Cape Argus

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