South Africa is holding a week of events to mark the passing of the anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who died on Sunday aged 90.
The plans include two days of lying in state before an official state funeral on 1 January in Cape Town. Tributes have been pouring in from leaders around the world, including Queen Elizabeth II, US President Joe Biden and Pope Francis.
A contemporary of Nelson Mandela, Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his role in the struggle to abolish the apartheid system enforced by the white minority government against the black majority in South Africa from 1948-91.
On Sunday, South Africans of all ages and backgrounds stopped by Cape Town’s St George’s Cathedral to lay flowers and pay tribute to the country’s national hero.
In honour of Tutu, the bells of the cathedral, the oldest in South Africa, will be rung daily at noon local time until Friday.
“His significance supersedes the boundaries of being an Anglican,” mourner Brent Goliath told AF, breaking down in tears.
“I was very emotional this morning when I heard that he’d passed away. I thank God that he has been there for us,” Mr Goliath said, adding that he had met Tutu several times.
President Biden said he was “heartbroken to learn of the passing of a true servant of God and of the people”, adding that Tutu’s “legacy transcends borders and will echo through the ages”.
Former US President Barack Obama described Tutu as “a mentor, friend and moral compass”.
In a message of condolence, Queen Elizabeth II said she remembered with fondness her meetings with him, and his great warmth and humour.
“Archbishop Tutu’s loss will be felt by the people of South Africa and by so many people in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and across the Commonwealth, where he was held in such high affection and esteem.”
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said Tutu had “inspired a generation of African leaders who embraced his non-violent approaches in the liberation struggle”.
The Vatican said in a statement that Pope Francis offered “heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones”.
“Mindful of his service to the gospel through the promotion of racial equality and reconciliation in his native South Africa, his holiness commends his soul to the loving mercy of almighty God.”