As it happened: Mandela funeral

Key points

  • The funeral has been held of South Africa's first black President Nelson Mandela, who died on 5 December aged 95.
  • Thousands of South Africans - and heads of state and government - congregated in Mr Mandela's home village of Qunu.
  • Mr Mandela has been hailed as "a giant of history" for his fight against apartheid. All times GMT.

Live text

Reporting:

  • Zoe Murphy 
  • Sherie Ryder 
  • Andree Massiah 
  • Barry Neild 
  • Bernadette McCague 

Last updated 15 December 2013

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Welcome to the BBC's live page where we will be bringing you the latest from the funeral of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

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Some 4,500 people - including foreign dignitaries - will be attending the funeral, which will blend state ceremonial with traditional rituals.

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Members of his family attended an overnight vigil, with a traditional praise singer believed to be chanting details of his long journey and life.

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Media presence is limited at the service. AFP journalist Sibongile Khumalo has been granted access and says old comrades are hugging each other in what seems like a reunion of friends.

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Nelson Mandela's portrait is placed behind two rows of candles, on one of the three stages inside the white domed marquee. The service due to start at 06:00 GMT and will last for two hours, according to the official programme.

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Members of the South African navy are lining the road from the Mandela family house to his burial site.

Members of the South African navy are lining the road from the Mandela family house to his burial site

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Mahlako Olorato

tweets: #Qunu I'm happy to see that the archbishop is here, it would have been so sad for him to miss Tata's funeral

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The funeral service is being shown on big screens for the public to watch in Qunu, Mthatha, Mvezo and around South Africa.

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The BBC's Ros Atkins

tweets: First people arrive at this stadium in Alexandra to see #MandelaFuneral. Everyone seeking shade from a fierce sun.

Alexandra