A black hearse carrying Nelson Mandela’s coffin, draped in the national flag, has left the former South African president’s home. A van carrying the coffin was accompanied by a slow-moving convoy, escorted by police motorcyclists riding in a V formation with flashing lights.
Mr Mandela’s body will lie in state for three days in Pretoria, the BBC said, before a funeral is held on Saturday in Qunu, the village in Eastern Cape where he was born.
Current president Jacob Zuma announced the death of the man known as Madiba, saying: “Our thoughts are with the South African people who today mourn the loss of the one person who more than any other came to embody their sense of a common nation.
“Our thoughts are with the millions of people across the world who embraced Madiba as their own and who saw his cause as their cause.”
The clearly emotional leader added: “As we gather to pay our last respects, let us conduct ourselves with the dignity and respect that Madiba personified.
“Let us be mindful of his wishes and the wishes of his family as we gather wherever we are in the country and wherever we are in the world. “Let us recall the values for which Madiba fought. “Let us reaffirm his vision of a society in which none is exploited, oppressed or dispossessed by another.”