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Remembering Desmond Tutu; Countries Around The World Ring In 2022; Europe Closes 2021 With Canceled Events, Surging Cases; Putin's New Year's Address Focused On Pandemic; Betty White Dies At 99. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired January 01, 2022 - 04:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers all around the world, I'm Paula Newton.

And we begin with a celebration of life for Desmond Tutu, the archbishop, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the struggle to finally end apartheid in South Africa. His funeral is underway at this moment and you see it there at St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town.

We expect South African president Cyril Ramaphosa to deliver the eulogy in the next few moments. David McKenzie is live for us from Cape Town just outside the cathedral and he has been watching all of this, as have many of us, just listening in.

And those personal stories, those personal interactions, with Desmond Tutu, they are clearly at the heart of all of the eulogies that we're hearing right now.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. And right now, there's a homily by Father Michael Nuttall, the former bishop of Natal. and you can see the personal connection, as you would expect, in a funeral.

But just this man had such a personal connection to so many people. And over the last few days, speaking to people filing in to pay their respects, in the glorious cathedral behind me, so many of them, Paula, told me specific anecdotes about the archbishop.

One woman came all the way from about 50 minutes' drive away, got up at dawn. And she says she remembers as a very young girl, feeling that apartheid was against her personally. And she couldn't get anywhere with her life.

And this short of stature but brave of heart archbishop, who was out there fighting for her rights, as many of the leaders of the ANC, like Nelson Mandela, were imprisoned or exiled.

I spoke to the head of one of his foundations and asked just what is the legacy of this man. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICLAS KJELLSTROM-MATSEKE, CHAIR, TUTU LEGACY FOUNDATION: We are all three connected to the late archbishop Desmond Tutu. And given that it's a matter of what we do about his legacy.

MCKENZIE: His legacy is so powerful in South Africa, in terms of forgiveness and reconciliation.

What lessons should the world take today from his legacy?

KJELLSTROM-MATSEKE: Well, you just said it. I think to listen is the first step and I think, in today's world, we are more polarized than ever perhaps. And we also have lost the ability to actually listen in to each other.

So one of the main lessons is open our ears and our minds and listening to opponents and even enemies, because that's the only chance we have to get to understanding. And only when you understand your opponent you can choose if you want to reconcile or not.

And Father would obviously like us to.

MCKENZIE: You had a relationship with him, of course, as did all the people in the church today.

What does this mean for you personally, his legacy to you?

KJELLSTROM-MATSEKE: Well, personally, for me, it's been quite a ride with the Arch. I didn't know, when I met him some 15 years ago, how intertwined the Tutu family was with my South African roots. And he taught me and my children a lot about leadership, about listening to other people but also trying to act and get busy and do things.

Because we can't only talk, we also need to put action to our words and he was pretty firm on that.

Final question, many people, including myself included, had a personal moment with the Arch.

What was it about him that allowed him to reach out and touch people like that?

KJELLSTROM-MATSEKE: Well, you see, Desmond Tutu could connect with anyone, with anyone. It could be a king or a president or with children, someone on the street that just bumps into him.

And that happened again and again and again. He got energy from it and he gave energy.


MJELLSTROM-MATSEKE: The ability to connect with other human beings was probably one of the most profound great things with him. And because of that, I think the entire world feels that it's my archbishop. It's my Desmond Tutu. And that is something profoundly beautiful. And that's why he is this grand, global icon.


NEWTON: My ride with the Arch, I love that, David. And it has been really inspirational just to hear all of those tributes to him.

There is resounding relevance, we have to say, for Desmond Tutu's life and struggles, to everyone struggling throughout the world today, politically and otherwise. And yet, David, I have to ask you about South Africa as well.

It is really the kind of struggles that have been going on, day in, day out, where you are right now.

And do you think there will be some kind of new resolve, to be reminded of everything that Desmond Tutu went through and that South Africa can continue on in his spirit, to try and resolve really just some of the profound challenges they face?

MCKENZIE: Paula, I certainly hope so. And this country does face a great deal of challenges. It's the most unequal country in the world, with a massive gap between the wealthy and the have-nots.

And that is a key legacy of Desmond Tutu that has been unfulfilled. Speaking to members of the Anglican church and activists of the last few days, they say he was disappointed at the trajectory of his country in many ways but still satisfied with the fact that we are living in a largely peaceful nation here in South Africa, due in large part to the efforts of men like Desmond Tutu and those around him.

But there are huge challenges here that have been unfulfilled. And over the years, even in his official retirement, for the last 10 years or so, he would chime on about that, just here on issues in this country and around the world.

He was never afraid to say the unpopular thing. I remember very clearly the speaker of parliament at the time -- and I'm paraphrasing him -- calling him a bitter old man when he criticized then president Zuma. And he didn't really mind the criticism because he felt it was his place, as a man of God and a man of moral conscience, to speak up. Paula?

NEWTON: David, I'm not going to let you go without -- you piqued my interest there. You talked about your only personal connection to the Arch. And if you just want to, you know, just expand on that, because, as you say, I have met few people in the last few days, who have not told me that they have that personal story and connection with the Archbishop.

MCKENZIE: Well, that's right. As his head of the foundation said, he had this ability, this human ability to connect with people and I think to empathize with anyone he met on the streets or whether in the halls of power. As a very young reporter or younger reporter here at CNN, I met him in Kenya at the end of a delicate peace process there. And I was over- awed by the man, here was a man who won the Nobel Peace Prize, lauded by presidents and friends with celebrities and instantly recognizable by his laugh and smile.

And I remember talking to the producer, he said chat about football, chat about ordinary things, which I did at first. And it was him putting me at ease. And of course, there's been thousands of interactions like that over the years.

And even when it was much, a much bigger deal, when they had protest meetings and planning meetings to fight the apartheid state, he would often start with a joke or an anecdote to put everyone at ease before they went figuratively into battle. He was that kind of man, who felt the joy and the pain of others very deeply and expressed it.

NEWTON: As we continue to watch the scenes here from his funeral, David McKenzie, we'll continue to come back to you in the hour.

And it's so poetic to see that strikingly simple coffin of Desmond Tutu against the grandeur of the cathedral that you're in front of right now.

David, we will continue to check in with you. Thank you very much.

And yes, it has been another challenging year, right, living through the coronavirus pandemic. People right around the world were anxious to try and join in the celebrations and ring in a new year with new hope.

Now while many countries opted for scaled-back events or canceling them all together, others decided to go forward, with the usual festivities.


NEWTON: All right, large numbers of international tourists descended on downtown Dubai for fireworks and a laser show to bring 2021 to a close.

And South Korea brought in the new year, with a light show and traditional bell ringing in the capital city.

London -- I find that comforting -- celebrated with those midnight chimes from Big Ben, as the skyscraper put on a light show of its own. The British capital, of course, was among major cities, like Atlanta, where I am right now, Athens, Singapore, canceled their celebrations due to the surge of COVID-19 cases.

Now 2021 ends with something that, of course, resembled a time warp for Europe, as, once again, it rings in the new year with soaring COVID cases. Several countries on the continent are reporting their highest-ever case counts this week.

French president Emmanuel Macron says he hopes 2022 will see the end of the pandemic and he urged the 5 million unvaccinated in France to get those shots. France is also making tests more available and first arrived on supermarket shelves this week, the rapid antigen tests.

And that comes in time, as France has reported record high cases over the past week. And officials at the World Health Organization say the pandemic could end in 2022, if global vaccinations increase. The director general said it can only happen if we end inequity and vaccinate 70 percent of all people in all countries by the middle of this new year.

And for more on all of that, I'm joined by CNN's Salma Abdelaziz with us in London.

Happy new year to you. So we ring in this new year, the U.K. did, unfortunately, in the same way that they began 2021, more pandemic records, in at least England right now, if not other in other places in the U.K.

Is there talk of more restrictions?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Happy new year, Paula. Indeed, yes, another variant putting another dampener on New Year's yet again. We expected vaccinations would get us out of the pandemic this year. This is the year hoped and promised by medicine.

But yet again, another variant just causing record-breaking cases. It stands out to me that the French health minister says he got vertigo looking at the data. And in France, two people were testing positive every single second, two people were testing positive.

Here in the U.K., records have been broken time and time again by the Omicron variant. But I want to strike a positive note here, Paula, and we should. It's New Year's Day.

It is that Omicron appears, based on scientific evidence, based on the growing body of evidence that we have, it appears to be much milder. We've seen researchers here in the U.K. say that you're 40 percent to 70 percent less likely -- there are varying estimates but much less likely essentially to wind up in hospital and to wind up severely ill.

Even though we're seeing the skyrocketing numbers, the unprecedented infection rates, we are not seeing record-breaking hospitalizations or deaths anywhere near the proportion that you would expect with these huge caseloads, particularly when you compare it to previous ones.

And that means that a lot of governments are looking at how you live with a very different kind of variant, that presents a very different kind of challenge. And that challenge is one of just simply keeping governments functioning, keeping cities running, because, if you have tens of thousands of people calling out sick every day, that's a huge shortage of your workforce.

And that's essential services, that could be threatened, it could be cut, so governments looking at cutting down the isolation period. And we have done this, Spain has done, this and you did start by asking about restrictions here in the U.K., that does not seem likely at this point.

What actually could be likely, the government would have the possibility of reducing that isolation period, to allow workers and importantly health care workers to go back to that office.

NEWTON: As they've done in many other countries including here in the United States. And in terms of some kind of pan-European program, though, do you think there is any resolve to really try and come up with a program that would, in fact, be a little bit more cohesive?

ABDELAZIZ: That's a very good question. We've seen a struggle with this time and time again, to try to find a unified European Union response across the region. The region has, since the pandemic started, the borders have entirely changed.

And travel restrictions to determine who can move between what borders and that spirit is gone and in the E.U. as well, there was serious criticism how quickly the vaccines were distributed and how evenly they were distributed across the E.U.


ABDELAZIZ: We have heard from the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, she wants a more coordinated response in the new year. And she wants governments to work together on travel restrictions and wants those travel restrictions to be reviewed on a consistent basis.

Same thing with the vaccines and the booster programs, they want to see greater coordination on those efforts. And I'm reminded by that statement you read on the World Health Organization chief, who said we need to end vaccine inequity and find ways to work together in the new year, if we are to end this pandemic. Paula?

NEWTON: And unfortunately, we've been saying that for months and months and I think we would all like to see some action within the coming days on actually getting to that vaccination point, with most of the world vaccinated by the middle of this year.

Let's end on hope, right?

Thanks for that update. And we will continue to check in with you throughout the day. Appreciate it.

Now the pandemic is not showing any signs of a slowdown in COVID hot spots in Asia, either. The countries in red on this map have seen a more than 50 percent jump in new cases in the past week.

In Hong Kong, officials are scrambling to contain the city's first Omicron cluster and locked down a residential building linked to a potential case Friday and ordered all residents to get tested. Officials say the case involves an airport employee, who likely picked up the virus at work.

Meantime, in Mainland China, the city of Xi'an had more than 170 new cases yesterday, the second highest daily number. And officials now say they plan to ease a strict lockdown there and in the neighborhoods that have been COVID-free.

Now stay with us. Later in the hour, I'll be talking with a world renowned infectious disease expert about what we can expect in the new year, as the Omicron variant becomes dominant across the globe.

And there's much more to come here on CNN. President Putin delivers his New Year's address, one day after he and the U.S. president exchanged warnings over Ukraine. The latest from Moscow with a live report.

Plus, we'll go to the Vatican where New Year's mass is underway and get more in the pope's message in a live report from Rome. Stay with CNN.





NEWTON (voice-over): You are looking at live pictures inside St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa, where Archbishop Desmond Tutu is being laid to rest. This is in fact his official state funeral.

And we have heard from several people who were close to him, talking about the strength of his character and how that sustained South Africa through some very dark times.

It is striking to see the simple coffin that Desmond Tutu chose for this quite lavish funeral in this cathedral. Having said that, he said he did not want anything ostentatious. We will continue to check in and bring you the eulogy from the South African president, which should be coming up moments from now.

And we take you now, in fact, to Rome and the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, where Pope Francis is marking the new year with a mass for the faithful.

January 1st is World Peace Day in the Catholic Church, a tradition first celebrated by Pope John Paul VI in 1968 -- actually pardon me, that is Pope Paul VI in 1968.

Mr. Allen will be coming up here and will correct me on that.

This year the pontiff's message calls for dialogue with the generations along with a focus on education and the dignity of labor.

And John, you are the CNN senior Vatican analyst and will correct me, it was not John Paul, it was Pope Paul. Happy new year to you and we take in this mass from Vatican city this. This message is supposed to be uplifting, inspirational and many would say it is a stretch this year for any pope to try and pull that off.

How's he doing?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SR. VATICAN ANALYST: Hello, Paula. Very happy new year to you. And just a footnote, you weren't entirely wrong: John Paul II took his name in honor of two previous popes, John XXIII and Paul VI, so in a sense you were sort of in the frame.

Anyway, it's a tough one, isn't it?

A pope over the holidays always wants to deliver a message of hope. This is the Christmas season for the church, the birth of Christ, the savior, is the supreme act of hope in human history, according to Christian belief. So you want to be upbeat.

But the realities of the world are not particularly upbeat at the moment. And so far, Francis has chosen not to duck that and he has tackled it head-on. He has acknowledged the sobering realities that we face in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.

And not just that, you know, many other maladies, from poverty to war and on and on. But his message, Paula, has been one ultimately of solidarity. He says the way out of this problem is solidarity.

And his argument has been that, if anything, in recent experience, the coronavirus should have convinced us that we can't solve problems in isolation or by ourselves. We can't say well, that place over there is struggling but it's not our problem, because clearly, the coronavirus has illustrated that problems become global in a real hurry.

And so his prescription here is a sense of human fraternity, that we're all in the same boat, if we feel that, the pope's message, there is still hope.

NEWTON: We leave it there for now. We are looking at live pictures and continue to check in with you as this mass is ongoing. Thank you.

U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to call his Ukrainian counterpart to brief him on Thursday's phone call with Vladimir Putin. He did not mention that conversation in the New Year's address and, instead, his remarks focused on the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic. Nic Robertson has more from Moscow.



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Look at this, Red Square; it is minutes to midnight and normally this would be chock full of people, ready to see in the new year. But because of the COVID, the government is keeping it off limits tonight.

The president, President Putin, has made a speech to the nation. In that speech, he offers condolences to those who lost loved ones. He said it's been a tough year.

One of his biggest issues that phone call with President Biden just 24 hours ago, that issue of NATO and Ukraine. That was the subject of the phone call. President Biden telling President Putin that, if he doesn't deescalate and move his troops, there will be stiff economic sanctions.

The Russian president saying that would be a terrible decision. It would lead to a rupture in bilateral relations that will be felt for ages. Putin says he wants to keep his troops where they are right now, just, he says, as the United States would if Russian troops were close to the United States border.

The standoff, the red lines for those talks in January the 10th, they're set. The phone call really lined it all up -- Nic Robertson, CNN, Moscow.


NEWTON: Still to come, the U.S. is ringing in the new year with an unprecedented number of COVID infections. And what experts predict for the days and weeks ahead.

And Omicron cases are soaring around the world, I'll asking a global health expert if the end of the pandemic is anywhere in sight.


POPE FRANCIS, PONTIFF, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): That's not what the shepherds and the people -- the shepherds tell everyone about what they had seen, the angel that appeared in the heart (INAUDIBLE) and his words concerning the child.

And the people, upon hearing these things, are amazed, words and amazement. Mary, instead, is pensive. She keeps all of these things, pondering them in her heart.






NEWTON: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers here in the United States and Canada, who are joining us, I'm Paula Newton, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM.

The world is ringing in 2022 after another challenging year in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Now some cities right across the United States celebrated as usual, while others opted for more scaled back festivities. New York City welcomed the new year with a party in Times Square.


NEWTON (voice-over): Some of these images were used to sit sane (ph) but unfortunately, thanks to the huge spike of new COVID-19 cases, it wasn't quite the same. The audience was capped at 15,000 and everyone was required to wear masks.

And the U.S. shatters the average daily case record again, as the new year rings in. As you can see from this map, I mean it's almost completely red, right, not much other than red. And the U.S. set a record on Friday with more than 380,000 new cases.

But that is the seven-day average. And experts are predicting a blizzard of new infections in the coming weeks. Health officials worry that could lead to a tidal wave of hospitalizations and especially among children.

And it's no wonder, as COVID child admissions are now at a record high in the United States, according to the CDC. Hospitalizations among children jumped 66 percent last week, from the previous week.

And as 2021 ends with an unprecedented spike in those new cases, many schools across the United States are already making changes to the spring semester. CNN's Leyla Santiago has more.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With the rapid spread of Omicron and students returning to school in the new year, some school districts are revising their policies and their COVID-19 safety protocols, monitoring the situation.

But while some of the largest school districts are making changes that include making adults wear masks or making visitors and vendors wear masks, and you don't see any of them requiring masks of the students themselves.

This comes from some of the same school districts that did have mask mandates earlier in the year, despite the governor's objections.

So what has changed?

Well, the governor Ron DeSantis signed a law last week, banning the mask mandates and now some school board members I've spoken to say they feel their hands are tied when it comes to protecting students from COVID-19.


ALBERTO CARVALHO, MIAMI-DADE SUPERINTENDENT: As an educator, as a parent, I cannot advocate my true belief in the expert advice of scientists. And it is clear to us, as is clear to any single, reasonable, scientifically oriented expert across the country and internationally, that some of the recently adopted legislation and practices in the state of Florida fall short of meeting that basic standard.


SANTIAGO: While some of the schools may be making changes, who is not making changes: the governor. His office telling me that schools will remain open, there will be no mask mandate in place and any student that is tested must have written consent from a parent -- Leyla Santiago, CNN, Broward County, Florida.



NEWTON: Dr. Sian Griffiths is professor emeritus at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, also the chair of the Hong Kong government's 2003 inquiry into SARS and she joins me now live from Oxford, England.

And happy new year to you. As we ring in the new year, pretty much like we started the last one. I'm going to put you on the spot, right at the beginning here. People like the French president are saying, this is the year, we will end the pandemic.

What are your thoughts on this?

DR. SIAN GRIFFITHS, CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: I think I'd rather go with the line, Paula -- by the way, happy new year to you, too, I'd rather go with the line that the acute phase of the pandemic could be over, which is something that Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, director general, tweeted last week, saying he was optimistic.

But only optimistic if we could get vaccine equity, meaning could we get vaccines to the whole world, particularly to health care workers.


GRIFFITHS: Because if we look at the vaccine distribution, it's very much in richer countries and so parts of Africa, the health care worker, three out of four, are not immunized and therefore at risk, if they go about their daily work, trying to control the pandemic.

So I think that there's optimism, there's optimism because the Omicron wave appears to be waning in South Africa and it appears we can understand more about it. But it is optimistic within bounds of needing to take action and also the uncertainty that always surrounds this particular virus.

NEWTON: And I'm wondering where you stand on this variant itself, Omicron. It might be weaker, a less menacing variant.

Do you think this is good news and we will not be getting even further, more dangerous variants?

Or is the jury out on this?

GRIFFITHS: I think the jury has to be out. But we are in a much better position than we were this time last year. If you think about this time last year, we hadn't really started mass vaccinations and look now, we're into the third boosters and fourth for high risk groups.

And I think that we've seen a massive development by the global scientific community, sharing the information they have. The information about the virus, about the way it spreads, about vaccines and their manufacture and about treatment for people who get sick.

And so there is a lot more optimism that Omicron can be handled. The major problem is it is so transmissible. And so the figures for the U.K. yesterday, from the Office of National Statistics, was it's approximately one in 25 people known to be infected. And that's over 2 billion people infected.

And some will be unvaccinated and some will be vulnerable and some end up in hospitals.

And the question is how many will end up in hospitals?

That is an unknown. Omicron itself, it can be just a mild disease but if you have large numbers of people, there will always be some people who are more severely affected and who, therefore, need treatment in hospital.

And then there's the issue of how long does the vaccine work?

And how well does it work against Omicron?

And that, at the moment, it is fairly optimistic, it's not as good, obviously, the vaccine isn't as good against Omicron as it was against Delta. But it is still effective, particularly if you have a booster. So hopefully, if people get boosted, get the immunity levels up in the community, take -- continue to take the precautions, mask wearing, you know, all of that, hopefully, Paula, that will give us a sense of optimism.

And going back to the former question, to get through this, hopefully we will.

NEWTON: It has been nearly two decades since you and your colleagues worked to mitigate the effects of SARS in 2003.

Why don't we have a truly robust pandemic surveillance system globally right now?

GRIFFITHS: I think part of the issue there was that SARS came and went very quickly. Which meant that a lot of the research that we've been able to do, having a large number of cases of this coronavirus, couldn't be done.

But also, because it came and went so quickly, people didn't necessarily look at the lessons. In our report that we produced, we highlighted the need for global pandemic surveillance, for being ready for surge capacity, to deal with a pandemic.

And if you look at the countries that were most affected by SARS back in 2003, countries like China, they were better prepared this time around.

So what I'm hoping is, from this time, the world having gone through this pandemic, there will be a greater awareness of the need to invest, because it takes investment, investment in the science, investment in the capacity to respond and that the world won't be caught off guard as it was this time around.

NEWTON: We'll have to leave it there. I appreciate the precision with which you laid out exactly what is supposed to unfold this coming year. Thank you. Appreciate it.

Now returning to our top story, the funeral of archbishop Desmond Tutu, a driving force, of course, in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. He is being celebrated from behind the pulpit he once preached from, at St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town. Tutu died Sunday in Cape Town at the age of 90.

We will continue to bring you that ceremony and the events there.

A fast-moving wildfire hits near Boulder, Colorado, fueled by hurricane-force winds. Now survivors come to terms with the devastation. And describe how they saved their own lives. That's next.

Plus, you're looking at fans honoring Betty White at her Hollywood star. A look at the beloved actress' spectacular life.





NEWTON: Colorado's governor says it could be the state's own New Year's miracle. A horrific wildfire, you're seeing some of the pictures there, moving at a blistering speed, scorching entire subdivisions.

But luckily not a single life has been lost as the so-called Marshall fire tore through communities near Boulder on Thursday and subsided just as quickly the next day as snow moved in.

You're looking there at some drone pictures and the devastation of this. I still cannot believe.



NEWTON: And now we want to go back to South Africa and our David McKenzie, who is in Cape Town, just outside St. George's Cathedral, where they continue the official funeral service for Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

And David, at this point, this is going to be the main eulogy here coming up, right?

MCKENZIE: Well, that's right. President Cyril Ramaphosa will give the eulogy. A short time ago, you had the singing of the national anthem and an introduction by a member of the military, really only the feel of a state funeral happening here.

So much of this was planned by the man himself. He wanted a humble funeral in the tradition of the Anglican church. And you saw that, with the communion being given to those assembled, 100 of his closest friends. And here we have Cyril Ramaphosa.

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: Members of the Tutu family, His Majesty, King Letsie III --


RAMAPHOSA: -- former president Thabo Mbeke and Zanele Mbeke; former president Kgalema Motlanthe and Mapula Motlanthe; former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and my brother Benin Genosa (ph); former president of Ireland, my dear sister, Mary Robinson; Mama Gramasele (ph), ministers; acting chief justice, Raymond Zondo; premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde; executive mayor of the city of Cape Town, Mr. Hill-Lewis; Reverend Michael Weeder, dean of Cape Town.

The leadership of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, retired Bishop Michael Nuttall, leaders of the faith, of all denominations that are here present, leaders and representatives of political parties, General Rudzani Maphwanya , chief of the South African National Defense Force, veterans of the liberation organizations and fellow mourners, Archbishop Mahoba (ph).

Soon after the passing of our father, I went to visit Mama Leah Tutu and the family. And after that visit, some journalists were standing outside.


RAMAPHOSA: And they asked me, will the archbishop be given a category 1 funeral?

I said, of course, it will be a category 1 funeral but then I added, with religious characteristics.

And may I say that, today, you may well have written another chapter in government orders and processes of what a category 1 funeral with religious characteristics is. And thank you very much. I've just seen it for myself.

If Archbishop Desmond Tutu were here, he would have said, hey, hey, why are you looking so glum, so unhappy?

He would have wanted to elicit a smile, a laughter from amongst all of us. That was the type of person that he was. I'm really delighted that government has been led in this whole process by the church.

We had, after the passing of Madiba envisaged that this moment would come. And for well over six years, the government file (ph) has been building up and we have been discussing, how are we going to send Archbishop Tutu on to the next world?

And we took a view that it would be led by the church and I'm rather pleased that government has taken a back seat this time around.

It is only a few amongst us, the rarest of souls, who attain the stature of global icon during their lifetime. In our modern age, this term has come to be associated with celebrity and social media fame.

Yet, if we are to understand a global icon to be someone of great moral stature, of exceptional qualities and of service to humanity, there can be no doubt that it refers to the man we are laying to rest today.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was without question a crusader in the struggle for freedom, for justice, for equality and for peace, not only in South Africa, the country of his birth, but around the world as well.

Such was the over-arching impact and the influence that Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu had that tributes have been received, as we heard, from current and past presidents and religious leaders, monarchs, lawmakers, political parties, musicians, artists and ordinary people, from all corners of the world.

Climate activists, LGBTQI+ groups, solidarity movements and community organizations are just some of those who have paid homage to a man, who gave his life to the cause of freedom.

A humble and brave human being, who spoke for the oppressed, the downtrodden and the suffering of the world, in doing so, he walked in the footsteps of his mentor, Father Trevor Huddleston, and of the many heroic champions of freedom in our country and on our continent.

How fitting is it that his parents named him Mpilo when he was born, meaning life. In his life, he enriched the lives of all those that he met and all those who got to know him.


RAMAPHOSA: Over the past week, we've heard many moving accounts and we've also seen many images of Desmond Tutu's life. These accounts and images, in many ways, are the chronicle of a life of activism, statesmanship, ministry and pastorism.

There is one image taken in 1989 at a protest march here in Cape Town. In the black and white photograph, we see Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the late professor, Jakes Gerwel, alongside him, glaring defiantly at a cordon of police, who were armed to the teeth, just inches away.

Their mission -- that is, the police -- was to stop the march from proceeding. It is a striking photograph that captures the steely determination the Arch, to challenge the authority of an unjust, illegitimate and repressive regime.

It was a vivid depiction of the confrontation between right, represented by those who were marching for democracy, and might, represented by the man in the uniform of the apartheid police.

That photograph brings to mind in the words he spoke following his arrest in 1988, during a clergy-led protest against the crackdown on anti-apartheid groups. Bible in hand, he told a news conference he would continue with his defiance.

"We are not defying the law," he declared. "We are obeying God."

There is the famous image taken in 1996 during the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of our Arch, his head bent over folded arms, his shoulders weighed down by the deep tragedy and the unspeakable cruelty that was being told of the apartheid crime.

The TRC had just heard heart-rendering testimony from a veteran activist, Mohas (ph), on how he was tortured by the security police so brutally that he was now confined, as he testified at the TRC, in a wheelchair.

Overcome with emotion at what he had heard, Archbishop Desmond Tutu dropped his head in his hands and wept. That is a photograph that has gone around the world for all to see.

Together, these photographs speak not only of the strength of his convictions but to how deeply he felt the anguish and the suffering inflicted by others, who were perpetrators of injustice and intolerance.

There are many images we have of him speaking to crowds, his arms stretched out as though embracing them, looking serenely up to the heavens. He was a man with a faith as deep as it was abiding. For him, opposing injustice, standing up for the oppressed, defying unjust laws was God's work.

Destiny had anointed him a champion of the immortal cause of justice. He took to heart and lived the words of the book of Proverbs, chapter 31, verses 8 to 9, which says, "Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, charge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and the needy."