CAPE TOWN – The remains of Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Anglican archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, were interred early Sunday during a private family service at the city's Anglican cathedral.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba laid a small box containing Tutu's remains to rest in the floor in front of the high altar at St George’s Cathedral. Tutu's widow, children and other family members attended the 30-minute service.
Makgoba suggested that to honor the late Nobel laureate, Cape Town’s airport should be renamed Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu International Airport.
He called on all South Africans to “turn a new page" and commit to “the radical, revolutionary change” that Tutu advocated.
“Let us live as simply as he lived, exemplified by his pine coffin with rope handles," Makgoba said in his homily. "Let those of us who have resources pull in our belts, that others can eat enough to fill their stomachs. Let us reorder our society to end inequality and create equal opportunities for all.”
The box with Tutu's remains were placed under a memorial stone inscribed with the words: Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Oct. 1931 – Dec. 2021, Archbishop of Cape Town 1986 - 1996.
The morning service was underway as a fire swept through South Africa's nearby Parliament building. A pall of smoke later hung over the cathedral and the surrounding area.
A requiem Mass was held in the cathedral for Tutu's funeral on Saturday. Church officials said Tutu's body was prepared for interment with water in a process called aquamation.
Tutu requested the method because it uses less energy and is more environmentally friendly, church officials told journalists.