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A funeral befitting a legend

Nelson Mandela's casket arrived at the white dome where his traditional funeral is taking place.

Nelson Mandela's casket arrived at the white dome where his traditional funeral is taking place. Picture: AFP

QUNU - Nelson Mandela's casket arrived at the white dome where his traditional funeral is taking place.

His funeral service started with a traditional Xhosa hymn and the singing of the national anthem.

The 4,500 guests have taken their seats inside the specially built dome in the tiny village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape where the global icon will be laid to rest later this morning.

A military brass band led the procession.

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC Chair Baleka Mbete will MC the event.

Mandela's children will pay tribute to him and long-time friend Ahmed Kathrada will also say his final farewell.

Afterwards, African Union Chair and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Southern African Development Community Chair and Malawi's President Joyce Banda are expected to speak.

President Jacob Zuma will then deliver the funeral oration in what should be the high point of the ceremony.

Click here for the full state funeral programme.

FULL HEADS OF STATE & ROYAL GUEST LIST

  • African Union Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

  • Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn

  • Ethiopian State Minister Getachew Reda Kahsay

  • Ethiopian State Minister Surafiel Mhreteab Abed

  • Former French prime minister Alain Juppe

  • Former French prime minister Lionel Jospin

  • Former Nigerian vice-president Abubakar Atiku

  • Former Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg

  • Former Tanzanian First Lady Maria Nyerere

  • Former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda

  • Head of the European Union in South Africa Roeland van der Geer.

  • Iranian Vice President Mohammad Shariatmadari

  • Lesotho Foreign Minister Mohlabi Kenneth Tsekoa

  • Lesotho's King Letsie III

  • Malawi President Joyce Banda

  • Malawian Foreign Minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume

  • Nicaraguan Vice President Omar Hallesleven Acevedo

  • Reverend Jessie Jackson

  • St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Denzil Douglas

  • St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Everard Gonsalves

  • Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard K Membe

  • Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete

  • Tanzania's CCM representative Vicky N Swai

  • The UK's Prince Charles

  • Zambian Foreign Minister Wilbur Simuusa

  • Zambian Vice President Guy Scott