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Tutu symbol of liberation, hope and peace unveiled

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The Desmond Tutu stained glass window that has been installed at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town. Picture: Leon Lestrade Independent Newspapers

By Genevieve Serra

Nobel Peace Prize winner, the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will be commemorated today in a stained glass window at the Wale Street entrance of St George’s Cathedral as a symbol of hope and peace.

The unveiling will take place today during the farewell service of Dean Father Michael Weeder, who is retiring.

Farewell Eucharist for dean Michael Weeder. A litury for Palestine an Interfaith Service at the Cathedral of St George the Martyr Cape Town. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers / April 14, 2024

Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba is expected to do the unveiling of the window.

The Tribune’s sister title, Weekend Argus, had a preview of the window, which was designed by artist Anika van der Merwe.

Tutu was a vocal opponent of apartheid. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and was named the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1995, which sought to investigate allegations of human rights abuses during apartheid.

Tutu died in December 2021 at 90.

He was a confidant and mentor of Weeder and his ashes were interred at the cathedral. Weeder, who has been Dean of the cathedral since 2011, shared in a recent interview about how Tutu “went against the grain” and brought change, even standing in solidarity with the Palestinian nation.

“We’re remembering now the life of servant Mpilo Desmond Tutu, priest, prophet, reconciler, Archbishop of this diocese and province, healer of our nation, rabble-rouser for peace, champion of justice, and inspiration to the world,” Weeder said.

In the window, Tutu is positioned in front of an African sunburst which represents the dawn of a new era, signifying hope, enlightenment and a bright future for South Africa and its people.

“Within the shards of the sunburst, we will incorporate quotes and sayings from the archbishop’s life and speeches,” said Weeder. “These words will follow his remarkable journey, reflecting his dedication to justice and reconciliation.

“The peace lilies symbolise peace, hope and the purity of Tutu’s message.”

During the ceremony, Psalm 121 will be read from the Bible, as it was Tutu’s most loved verse.

“The window is over the Wale Street doorway and will preserve our going out and coming in for everyone as we enter and exit the cathedral,” Weeder said.

Another stained glass window will be unveiled soon in the form of Liberation panels. “The cathedral is publicly celebrated as ‘The Peoples Cathedral’,” Weeder said. “As a cathedral, we could benefit from an artistic representation that reflects a conversation about our liberation history.” –