WATCH: Mourner recounts tea with the Arch
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CAPE TOWN - Anne Jones, a lay minister in the Anglican Church, says she fondly remembers a time when she had tea with the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in the 1980s.
Jones and a friend stood in a snaking queue on Friday morning outside St George's Cathedral to pay their last respects to the late human rights activist and global peace icon Archbishop Tutu, who passed away on Sunday, December 26, after a long illness.
According to Jones, she met the bishop when he was the Archbishop of Johannesburg. He was appointed dean of St Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg in 1975, the first black South African to hold that position.
“Our other sister wrote to him and said it is fantastic that we have a black bishop, and he wrote back and said, you should come for tea.”
“So we went for tea at the old bishop’s house in Johannesburg, he was so charming,” said Jones.
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She added that “he wanted to know how we were doing, and wanted to know all about us”.
“And then he had a phone call in his office, and came back into the room with his head in his hands.”
Jones also recalls that it was in the 1980s, at the height of the struggle against the apartheid regime when the then apartheid police went into Soweto and started harassing people.
“A granny and her two little grandchildren had been shot in the back when they were sitting on their bed, and the Arch had known them, and he came back into the room where we were sitting, and you could see how broken his heart was, he was such a brave, amazing man,” she said.
“While he was alive I felt that there was still some hope … What are we going to do now?” an emotional Jones said.
Archbishop Tutu is laying in state inside the St George's Cathedral until 5pm on Friday afternoon.
African News Agency (ANA)