The late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an anti-apartheid activist, will be hydrated-a process of using water, described as an environmentally friendly alternative to cremation.
This is “what he desires as an ecological warrior,” said Pastor Michael Wade.
Thousands of South Africans have been paying their last respect at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, where Tutu’s body has been lying there.
Since his death at 90 a week ago, people have been emotional.
A man named Wally Mdluli hitchhiked more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from Bloemfontein to Cape Town-with the help of family and friends, he paid for some travel expenses and even slept at a gas station on the way.
“I felt satisfied after seeing the coffin. It was as if his spirit was in me,” he told Nomsa Maseko of the BBC in Cape Town.
“This is a memory [I will have] For the rest of my life,” Mr. Mdluli added, he hopes that he and all South Africans can live according to Tutu’s values.
The funeral of Archbishop Desmond Tutu is expected to take place this weekend. It is not clear whether his family will choose a private or public ceremony.
He insisted that the ceremony should not be “show off or lavish” and that he should be given “the cheapest coffin”. The only flower in the cathedral was “a bouquet of carnations from his family.” Archbishop Tutu IP Trust and Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.
His ashes will be buried behind the pulpit in St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, the Anglican diocese where he served as archbishop for 35 years.
What is hydration?
Aquamation using water is touted as a more environmentally friendly alternative to cremation using fire. Practitioners say it can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that is harmful to the environment by up to 90%.
The technical name of the process is Alkaline hydrolysis -It involves weighing the body and then heating it to 150 degrees Celsius (300 degrees Fahrenheit) in a mixture of potassium hydroxide and water for 90 minutes.
This dissolves the body tissues, leaving only the bones-then rinsed at 120 degrees Celsius, dried, and crushed into a coarse powder using a machine called a cremator.
Once all these steps are completed, the dead can be buried or scattered according to the wishes of the deceased-just like what happens in ordinary cremation.