Nelson Mandela's body has arrived in his family's village of Qunu in South Africa's Eastern Cape region, ahead of a state funeral on Sunday.
The funeral will begin December 15, Sunday at 1 a.m. EST/ 6 a.m. GMT and he will be buried by 3 a.m. EST/ 8 a.m. GMT, the South African government said Saturday. The state funeral will be televised, and Mr. Mandela will be buried in a private ceremony for the family, the government said. (Watch live stream below)
The government said it would restrict the public part of the funeral at Mr. Mandela's house in Qunu to the 4,500 invited guests only, including President Zuma and foreign dignitaries, such as several African presidents and UK's Prince Charles.
During the state funeral, an ox will be slaughtered, the deceased will be wrapped in a leopard skin and a family elder will keep talking to the body's spirit. It will also include those rituals from the tradition of the Xhosa people, to whom Mandela's Thembu clan belongs.
Twenty-six heads of state and government, their representatives, and royalty have confirmed they will attend the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela in Qunu. These include African and Caribbean leaders, Iranian Vice President Mohammad Shariatmadari, Lesotho's King Letsie III and former French Prime Ministers Lionel Jospin and Alain Juppe.
South African peace icon Desmond Tutu's office said on Saturday he would attend Nelson Mandela's funeral after all, after earlier saying he had cancelled his trip because he was not invited to his old friend's burial. Mandela spent his first night as a free man at Tutu's home in 1990 after his release from 27 years in prison.
The two men remained close over the years.
Mandela appointed him to lead the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to probe apartheid-era wrongs, and has said that Tutu's contribution to the country was immeasurable.
An initial statement from the archbishop had said, "Much as I would have loved to attend the service to say a final farewell to someone I loved and treasured, it would be disrespectful to Tata to gate-crash what was billed as a private family funeral. Had I been informed I was invited, there's no way on earth I would have missed it."
Government officials said the archbishop was on the list of accredited guests but had chosen not to attend. He was not on the list of clergy members invited to speak at the state funeral. But late Saturday, a spokesman for Archbishop Tutu said the archbishop would be traveling to Qunu for the funeral.
Mandela is survived by his wife Graça, three daughters, 18 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.