Tutu's body will now lie in state from Thursday to Friday

29 December 2021 - 16:45
By Lindile Sifile
Mamphela Ramphele delivers a tribute to the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  Tutu's body will lie in state between Thursday and Friday.
Image: Esa Alexander Mamphela Ramphele delivers a tribute to the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Tutu's body will lie in state between Thursday and Friday.

The public will be able to view the remains of the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the St George's Cathedral in Cape Town, Western Cape, from Thursday until Friday.

Speaking to Sowetan on Wednesday afternoon, Dean Michael Weeder confirmed that the public would be able to view the icon's remains for two full days ahead of his funeral on Saturday.

"Although we are preparing for Saturday and certain areas around the Cathedral have been cordoned off, the public would still be able allowed to come and see him for the last time inside the cathedral in a special spot that has been made for him where is going to remain until Saturday.

"It will be opened from 9am on Thursday until the evening on both days. On Friday, the last day of the viewing, we will close off with a prayer," said Weeder.

At least 100 attendees, including world leaders, are expected to attend the funeral due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

Tutu, 90, passed away on Sunday. He was diagnosed with cancer in the 1990s.

He has been honoured with a Special Official Funeral category 1 which will only be limited to the handing over of the national flag to his widow, Leah.


  • This is reserved for serving ministers, premiers of the nine provinces, Speaker of the National Assembly, Chief Justice, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and any distinguished persons as designated by the President;
  • The remains of the dignitary lie-in-state, which means that the body of the deceased will be kept at the Nelson Mandela Amphitheater at the Union Buildings, watched over by a guard of honour by the South African National Defence Force. In Tutu’s case, his body will be viewed at the cathedral;
  • The president can determine the period that the body will be kept at the Amphitheatre or whether the body can be kept in an alternative location;
  • The funeral is preceded by an official memorial at the City Hall of the capital city and seat of government, Pretoria. Should there be logistical issues, it becomes the president's decision as to where the memorial will be held. However, the official Night Vigil is left to the family of the deceased dignitary to decide. In Tutu’s case, several memorials were held around the country;
  • The role of the family is limited to a few responsibilities. Only for Category 1 state funerals can the family put in special requests on the location of the funeral to the President;
  • The Presidency will appoint a special aide (or two) to the next-of-kin to coordinate and liaise with the family over funeral arrangements;
  • For this funeral category the balustrades and pillars at the following buildings must be draped in black cloth: Union Buildings, the City Hall of the capital city and any other building as requested by the president or the acting president; and
  • The president appoints an Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) to coordinate the state funeral.

*The above information was sourced from the State, Official and Provincial Funeral Policy document.