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Desmond Tutu Arrives for Mandela Funeral

  • VOA News

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2013 photo, Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu waits to speak during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg.

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2013 photo, Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu waits to speak during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg.

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has arrived Qunu in the Eastern Cape for the funeral of fellow Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela, after earlier saying he would not go because he was not invited.

In a statement Saturday, Tutu had said he wanted to attend the funeral of someone he "loved and treasured." He added he would not miss it if he were informed he was welcome to attend. Tutu, however, said it would be "disrespectful" to "gate-crash" the funeral.

However, a spokesman for the Anglican cleric later issued a statement saying Tutu would travel to Qunu early Sunday for the funeral. There was no word on what prompted the change of plans.

The government denied that Tutu was snubbed.

Minister for the presidency Collins Chabane addressed the issue during a Saturday news briefing, saying the government had not issued any invitations.

The archbishop has been an outspoken critic of the ruling African National Congress and accused it of mismanagement in recent years.

Some had seen the apparent omission of an invitation as a snub towards the religious leader, something the government denies.

Tutu had warm relations with Mandela and was a key figure in the anti-apartheid movement. After becoming South Africa's president, Mandela appointed Archbishop Tutu to head the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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