No confirmation yet whether the Dalai Lama will attend Tutu’s funeral

  • There is no confirmation yet whether Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s close friend the Dalai Lama would be attending his funeral on Saturday.
  • The Dalai Lama has had his visa denied several times by the South African government.
  • Piyushi Kotecha, CEO of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, told News24 she is not aware of whether or not the Dalai Lama would attend. 

There is still no word on whether Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s close friend the Dalai Lama will be attending his funeral on Saturday.

The holy spiritual leader had a close friendship with Tutu and in 2016 co-authored a book with him titled “The Book of Joy” examining the quest of joy in a world filled with suffering. 

Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said at a press briefing on Monday that there has been no confirmation whether the Dalai Lama would attend or not. 

“I don’t have details of that and I wish it were possible that he attends without going into the politics of his trouble coming to South Africa as a religious leader,” Makgoba said. 

On whether there would be any spiritual leaders in attendance on Saturday Makgoba said he had spoken to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. However, it is not known at this stage whether he’ll attend the funeral.

READ | Tutu to be cremated

Makgoba also said he was aware there are many others who would like to attend the funeral. 

“I know there are spiritual leaders from India who [have] expressed the need to be here [but] so far we don’t have definite answers as to who will be in attendance,” he said. 

In 2011, the South African government stopped the Dalai Lama’s visit to the country when he was scheduled to be a guest at the 80th birthday of Tutu, so as not to offend China. The Dalai Lama has had his visa denied several times by the South African government. 

That was because of the acrimonious relationship between China and the Dalai Lama.

China brands the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile to India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule of Tibet. The Dalai Lama says he is seeking more autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.

Piyushi Kotecha, CEO of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, told News24, “… not as far as I know”, has the Dalai Lama confirmed attendance with regards to the funeral on Saturday. 

READ | Tutu was ‘guiding light that brought Madiba and I together in our formal union’ – Graça Machel

“It will all unfold at the moment everything is a bit fluid at the moment so just keep an eye out,” Kotecha said. 

The Dalai Lama wrote a letter of condolence to Archbishop’ Desmond Tutu’s daughter, the Reverend Mpho Tutu, saying Tutu’s, “… departure from this world is very saddening news for all of us”.

“December 26, 2021, marks a very sad day, especially for the Tibetans on receiving the news of the passing away of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He was an icon of global peace, a dear friend of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibet,” the letter said. 

News24 has approached the Dala Lama’s representatives, this story will be updated once comment is received.  

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