Some shed tears whilst others expressed their grief in song and dance. Those gathered outside Nelson Mandela’s house in Houghton, Johannesburg have begun the process of mourning.
President Jacob Zuma announced a week of events to mark the passing of the man considered the father of the nation.
Sunday will see an official day of reflection and prayer and special religious services will be held in his honour.
On Tuesday, a national memorial service will be held in the 95,000 capacity FNB stadium in Soweto.
Mandela’s body will remain in the seat of power in Pretoria until Friday, ahead of the funeral set to be held in the village of Qunu, where Mandela grew up and where his family still have a home.
The final farewell is expected to be one of the largest state funerals since that of Winston Churchill in 1965 with heads of state from around the world expected to attend.
However, the burial will be in keeping with Xhosa traditions and be a largely family affair. Mandela is said to have chosen his own resting place, on a hill overlooking the fields where he tended cattle as a boy, again in keeping with Xhosa custom that burial is itself a homecoming.