Archbishop Desmond Tutu – a long-time friend of Nelson Mandela – has said that South Africa’s first black president would have been appalled that Afrikaners were excluded from memorial services marking his death.
Desmond Tutu highlighted the absence of the Dutch Reformed Church and the limited use of the Afrikaans language at the services.
A mainly Afrikaner party introduced white minority rule, which Nelson Mandela opposed, spending 27 years in jail.
But after becoming South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela preached reconciliation with his former enemies.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu highlighted the absence of the Dutch Reformed Church and the limited use of the Afrikaans language at Nelson Mandela’s funeral services
Archbishop Desmond Tutu also strongly criticized the prominence of the governing African National Congress (ANC) during the week of events following Nelson Mandela’s death on December 5.
“I also believe it may have sent out a more inclusive message had the programme directors at the Memorial and Funeral – both national and State events – not both been senior office-bearers of the ruling party,” he said.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu fought apartheid, along with Nelson Mandela and the ANC, but has become increasingly critical of the party, recently saying he would vote for the opposition.
He almost did not attend Sunday’s funeral for his close friend, saying he had not been invited.
In a statement, Desmond Tutu described Nelson Mandela as a “nation builder” who “went out of his way” to include Afrikaners after the end of apartheid.
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Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a veteran anti-apartheid campaigner in South Africa, has said he will not be going to Nelson Mandela’s funeral because he has not been invited.
“I would have loved to attend the service to say a final farewell to someone I loved and treasured,” Desmond Tutu said in a statement.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said he will not be going to Nelson Mandela’s funeral because he has not been invited
But he did not want to gatecrash “a private family funeral.”
However, a presidential spokesman said Archbishop Desmond Tutu was on the guest list for Sunday’s funeral and a solution would be found.
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Flags were lowered to half mast and people across South Africa commemorated Nelson Mandela with song, tears and prayers on Friday.
Meanwhile as the South African government prepared funeral ceremonies that will draw leaders and other dignitaries from around the globe.
A black SUV-type vehicle containing Nelson Mandela’s coffin, draped in South Africa’s flag, pulled away from his home after midnight, escorted by military motorcycle outriders, to take the body to a military morgue in Pretoria, the capital.
People across South Africa commemorated Nelson Mandela with song, tears and prayers
Many South Africans heard the news of his death, which was announced just before midnight, upon waking Friday, and they flocked to his home in Johannesburg’s leafy Houghton neighborhood.
In a church service in Cape Town, retired archbishop Desmond Tutu said Nelson Mandela, who became South Africa’s first black president, would want South Africans themselves to be his “memorial” by adhering to the values of unity and democracy that he embodied.
“All of us here in many ways amazed the world, a world that was expecting us to be devastated by a racial conflagration,” Desmond Tutu said, recalling how Nelson Mandela helped unite South Africa as it dismantled apartheid, the cruel system of white rule, and prepared for all-race elections in 1994.
Nelson Mandela, also known by his clan name Madiba, was a “very human person” with a sense of humor who took interest in people around him, said Frederik Willem de Klerk, South Africa’s last apartheid-era president. The two men negotiated the end of apartheid, finding common cause in often tense circumstances, and shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
In summarizing Nelson Mandela’s legacy, F.W. de Klerk told eNCA television: “Never and never again should there be in South Africa the suppression of anyone by another.”
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