Durban - Secretary-general of the South African Interfaith Council Ashwin Trikamjee said on Thursday that the late Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu loved soccer and would never miss the Soweto Derby, between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
Trikamjee, who was the former chairperson of the National Soccer League (now the PSL), was speaking during a virtual tribute during an interfaith memorial service held in honour of Tutu, at the St Albans Martyr Cathedral, in Tshwane.
The service featured readings from all walks of faith, with the main sermon delivered by Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, general secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC).
The Vatican’s Nuncio Archbishop Peter Wells delivered a tribute on behalf of the head of the Catholic Church Pope Francis.
Tutu’s grandchildren also paid tribute to him, by reading the preamble to the South African Constitution.
“The Arch and I had a different kind of relationship, and that relationship stemmed from my being involved as the chairperson of the national soccer league, which is now the professional soccer league (PSL), and the Arch was a great, great follower of football.
“He never missed a derby, the great Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. Regularly, he would telephone me or get somebody to call me and say ’can I or may I get admission to the ground on Sunday’. And he was my guest on so many different occasions.
“When I appeared before him at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), I was taken aback because, before I could start making my presentation, this is what the Archbishop said to everybody: ’Mr Trikamjee, I just want everybody here to know that we are grateful and thankful to you for looking after our football in this country’,” Trikamjee said.
Tutu’s body arrived at the St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town on Thursday, where it will lie for the next two days, until his funeral on Saturday. Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba is set to lead the ceremony.
With the rain pouring down over the mother city, security forces around the church shored up its defences, as mourners from across the country made their way to St George’s, to pay their final respects.