Desmond Tutu Wished To Be Aquamated, a ‘Greener’ Alternative to Cremation

In Summary

South African human rights pioneer Desmond Tutu, who died a day after Christmas in 2021, desired to be aquamated as opposed to cremation. 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a human rights pioneer and anti-apartheid hero, died on December 26 at the age of 90, leaving behind one final wish that embodied his legacy of compassion, sacrifice and social justice. 

BBC reported Tutu insisted his funeral be conducted with “no ostentatiousness or lavish spending,” asking for the cheapest casket and the only flowers to come from his family. He also requested to be aquamated. 

RELATED: F.W. de Klerk, South Africa’s Last Apartheid President, Dies at 85 

Aquamation, per BBC, employs water instead of fire and is promoted as a greener alternative to cremation. It apparently reduces the quantity of environmentally hazardous carbon dioxide produced by up to 90%.  

The process entails dissolving the body tissue to leave only the bones, which are then cleaned, dried and pulverized into a coarse powder using a cremulator. Like a traditional cremation, the final step is to bury or scatter the remains based on the deceased’s desires. 

Tutu’s ashes were to be interred behind the pulpit of St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, per his request. 

“Tutu was a living embodiment of faith in action, speaking boldly against racism, injustice, corruption, and oppression, not just in apartheid South Africa but wherever in the world he saw wrongdoing, especially when it impacted the most vulnerable and voiceless in society,” the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said in a statement. 

It added, “His faith burst the confines of denomination and religion, joyfully embracing all who shared his passion for justice and love.” 

RELATED: Sidney Poitier, 1st Black Man to Win Oscar for Best Actor, Dies at 94 

Tutu was the Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1994, after serving as the Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986, per People magazine. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 after being nominated in the three years prior. 

He continued to speak out on a range of ethical and moral concerns after “retiring” from public life on his 79th birthday in 2010, according to his foundation, including illegal arms transactions, xenophobia, oppressed people in Palestine, HIV/AIDS and LGBTQI+ rights. He was also vocal against the impending ravages of climate change and pushed for more attentive Earth care.

Latest in World News

Russia - Ukraine

World News

US Diplomats’ Families Ordered To Flee Ukraine as Fears of Russia Mount

World News

UFC 270’s Francis Ngannou Partners With Cash App for $300K Bitcoin Giveaway

World News

Former US Special Envoy Criticizes Biden’s Approach to Haiti

World News

MIPAD Highlights Black People in Hopes of Advancing Global Black Power

World News

China Appointing Special Envoy To Help Ethiopia With Political Crisis

World News

Prosecutor: South Africa Parliament Fire Suspect Had Explosives