The body of anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu arrived at St George’s Cathedral on Thursday morning in a simple pine coffin adorned with a bunch of white carnations.
Family members met the coffin outside the cathedral entrance before six black-robed clergy carried the closed coffin inside to an inner sanctuary.
The Arch is to lie in state for two days as mourners queue to pay their final respects.
The first two rows of the cathedral were dotted with some people saying silent prayers as others shed tears.
Archbishop Tutu requested the cheapest coffin and did not want any lavish funeral expenses.
His body will be cremated and his remains interred behind the St George’s Cathedral pulpit.
On Thursday afternoon Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis added a bunch of flowers to the many attached to fencing close to the Arch for the Arch at the entrance to the Company’s Garden.
The wooden Arch at the corner of Wale and Adderley streets was created by the City of Cape Town and Design Indaba for Archbishop Tutu’s 86th birthday on October 7, 2017 (“‘Arch’ honoured with very own arch”, Capetowner, October 12, 2017).
Stopping to read some of the messages, Mr Hill-Lewis attached his flowers and then entered the cathedral to pay his respects.
On Saturday there will be a requiem mass funeral service where President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver a eulogy.