Archbishop Desmond Tutu confirms he will not attend Nelson Mandela's funeral

The former archbishop's claims he was not told he was welcome, but the South African presidency disagrees

The retired Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, has confirmed that he will not be attending Nelson Mandela’s funeral, despite wanting to pay his respects to a close friend.

Mr Tutu, who has strongly criticised the current South African government, said in a statement that he will not be attending the ceremony to be held in Mr Mandela’s home village because he was not invited.

The presidency denies the allegation.

"Much as I would have loved to attend the service to say a final farewell to someone I loved and treasured, it would have been disrespectful to Tata [Mandela] to gatecrash what was billed as a private family funeral," he said.

"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 82-year-old Nobel laureate said he had cancelled his plans to fly to the Easter Cape to attend the funeral after he wasn't told he was on the guest or accreditation lists.

However, Mac Maharaj, a spokesman for the South African presidency, said Mr Tutu is on the guest list and that he hopes a solution will be found so he can attend.

"Certainly he is invited," Mr Maharaj said. "He's an important person."

He said he did not know whether Mr Tutu had been invited to eulogise Mr Mandela but was certain he had been sent an invitation.

Mr Tutu has preached at the funerals of most major anti-apartheid figures, including Steve Biko, Chris Hani and Walter Sisulu.

The Reverend Mpho Tutu, the former archbishop’s daughter, said in a statement that her father had not been accredited as a clergyman at Mr Mandela's funeral.

Mr Maharaj said no credentials were needed.

The issue highlights occasional frictions between Mr Tutu and the current government of President Jacob Zuma.

Before the April 2009 elections propelled Mr Zuma to the presidency, Mr Tutu had said he was so sceptical of the ANC leader he was considering not casting a ballot.

Mr Tutu worked closely with Mr Mandela and served as one of the anti-apartheid struggle's most visible public figures during Mr Mandela’s incarceration.

He was also the chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission created by Mr Mandela's government which investigated apartheid atrocities.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there