Desmond Tutu didn?t get invited to private funeral

Desmond Tutu was not initially down to speak at the memorial event for Mr Mandela in Soweto on Tuesday
Desmond Tutu was not initially down to speak at the memorial event for Mr Mandela in Soweto on Tuesday

Veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu 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,” the retired archbishop said in a statement.

But he did not want to gate-crash “a private family funeral”.

However, a presidential spokesman insisted he was among those invited and any problems would be sorted out.

“The arch is not an ordinary church person, he is a special person in our country and he is definitely on the list,” Mac Maharaj told AFP news agency.

“If there’s any problem we will try to iron that out, but I can assure you that he is on the programme.”

Government spokesman Collins Chabane also said that Mr Tutu was on the guest list.

Cancelled plans

The archbishop’s office said he had cancelled plans to travel to the Eastern Cape for the burial after receiving no indication that he was invited.

“Had I or my office been informed that I would be welcome there is no way on earth that I would have missed it,” the statement said.

Archbishop Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, was a friend of Nelson Mandela for decades.

He chaired South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated human rights abuses in the apartheid era, and was a visible symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle during the decades of Mr Mandela’s incarceration.

He has been critical of the current ANC government led by President Jacob Zuma.

The archbishop was not initially due to speak at Tuesday’s memorial event for Mr Mandela in Johannesburg.

However he was invited to the podium to give the closing prayer at the event and scolded the unruly crowd for booing Mr Zuma.

Source BBC

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