A fire started by an arsonist broke out overnight at the cathedral where South Africa’s spiritual father and anti-apartheid hero, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was buried, a church leader announced Sunday.
The fire was detected in the basement of a section of St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town at around 2 am (midnight GMT).
“The fire was an act of arson,” father Michael Weeder, dean at the cathedral, said in a note to his parish.
“It appears that a lit piece of cotton/gauze was thrown through the small, barred window near the steps leading up to the cathedral’s (main)… entrance,” he said.
“Someone was spotted running away from the cathedral.”
Firefighters quickly put out the fire, and other than “traces of smoke… there was no discernable damage done,” he added.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Tutu died in late December aged 90 after a life spent fighting injustice.
The cathedral where his ashes were interred on January 2, is just blocks away from the country’s parliament, which was set ablaze on the same day he was buried.
A man suspected to be the arsonist who started the fire that gutted the parliament is in custody awaiting trial after his application for bail was denied on Friday.
Cape Town suffered another major fire in April last year, when a blaze on the famed Table Mountain, which overlooks the city, ravaged part of the University of Cape Town’s library holding a unique collection of African archives.