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Nation says a long goodbye to Madiba

A number of ceremonies will take place ahead of Mandela’s burial in Qunu on 15 December.

The late Nelson Rolihlala Mandela pictured after his first press conference after his release from jail in Cape Town on 12 February 1990. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - A number of ceremonies to mourn, honour and celebrate former president Nelson Mandela's life will take place across South Africa in the coming days.

Madiba passed away peacefully at 8.50 pm on Thursday evening at his Houghton home in Johannesburg.

Earlier on Friday, President Jacob Zuma announced the official arrangements to take place over the coming weeks.

Zuma declared a period of mourning ahead of the funeral, with 8 December set aside as a day of prayer and reflection.

The ceremonies are expected to be on a grand scale to rival those of any icon before him.

State officials from across the globe, including all surviving US presidents, will attend Mandela's official state funeral set to take place in Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

Royalty from across the globe as well as international celebrities will also attend.

An official memorial service will take place at FNB Stadium in Nasrec on 10 December.

The stadium, built for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, can hold around 90,000 people.

Madiba made his last official public appearance there for the tournament final on 11 July 2010.

Between 11 and 13 December, Madiba's remains will lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

It's believed his body will be visible through a glass-top coffin.

His funeral will finally take place on 15 December in the small Eastern Cape village he grew up in, a short distance from Mvezo where he was born.

WORLD MOURNS WITH SA

The man the world will never forget will be mourned in a number of countries around the globe.

Bangladesh, Nigeria, Venezuela, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are some of the countries that declared three days of national mourning.

India has set aside a full five days to remember Madiba.

In the US, a New York City high school will be named in honour of Mandela.

The South African flag is flying among the star-spangled banner outside the New York Stock Exchange, where a minute of silence was held before the opening bell.

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower remains lit up in the colours of the South African flag.

In the UK, an overnight vigil is being held in London outside the South African High Commission in Trafalgar Square.

Thousands of people have queued through the day to sign a book of condolence.

Flowers and burning candles have been left outside the building as well as beneath two statues of the former president in the British capital.