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Preparations underway for Madiba memorial

Security, officials and the media are busy setting up at FNB Stadium for the memorial service.

Security, officials and the media are busy setting up at FNB Stadium for the memorial service. Picture: AFP.

NASREC - Officials and media crews deployed to work at FNB Stadium ahead of the biggest memorial service the world has ever seen are preparing for a long night.

Tens of thousands of people, including more than 90 heads of state, are expected to converge on the calabash to bid farewell to former president Nelson Mandela.

He died at his home in Johannesburg on Thursday after a long battle with a recurring lung infection.

Preparations are now well underway, with ANC officials decorating lamp posts with posters of the former president reading, "We love you Madiba".

Preparations underway at FNB Stadium #SABCNews pic.twitter.com/EOBUtCiA4T

Gates are expected to open to the public from 5am, but people might be queuing well in advance.

_ Click here to download the City of Joburg's press release on travel arrangements to the memorial._

The official programme for the service has been released.

The event will kick off with the national anthem before opening remarks, interfaith prayers and tributes by family and friends.

(Click on the image to link to the full brochure)

Earlier on Monday, Eyewitness News spoke to two South Africans who travelled from England and arrived at the stadium with camping gear, ready to sleep in front of the gate in order to secure a seat inside.

But the pair was advised by security to return on Tuesday at 4am.

In the meantime, accredited media crews have started camping out, setting up stages and mobile studios.

Private security guards will be assisting the police and ANC marshals with crowd control.

They have been briefed about logistics and protocols.

They've been told to expect their hands to be full throughout the day as the stadium cannot accommodate the volume of people expected there.

Sniffer dogs have already checked the grounds for bombs while police and metro police are patrolling the streets surrounding the stadium.

Officers are also preparing to monitor the area on horseback.

Horseboxes are parked next to the road, with officers grooming them and preparing for a long day on Tuesday.

Fire trucks and ambulances have also arrived there to assist with any situation that may arise.

For an up-to-date and comprehensive guide to the various events taking place this week, including information on transport, see EWN's special guide, Saying goodbye to Madiba: Event planner, or the shorter guide, _ Mandela events: Brief information guide._