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Spokesman: Desmond Tutu to Attend Mandela Funeral



The office of retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he will attend the funeral of fellow Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela, after earlier saying he would not go because he was not invited.

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

In an earlier statement Saturday, Tutu 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.

The government denies 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.



"With regard to the invitation to Archbishop Tutu, we would like to confirm that we did not send any invitation as we did not send an invitation to anybody. Probably we made a mistake - we don't know. But, we have never sent an invitation to anybody."



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.



Earlier, a South African government spokeswoman said if Tutu wanted to attend the funeral, he should have called.

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

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