A cortege transporting the coffin of former South African president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela arrived on Wednesday (December 11) at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where he will lie in state.

The South African army formed a guard of honour as military officials welcomed members of the government to the Union Buildings.

Mandla Mandela, the grandson of South Africa's first black president, was present as military officials took the coffin draped in the South African flag into the Union Buildings.

Thousands of people lined the streets as a procession of police motorcycles lead the black hearse carrying Mandela's coffin. Traffic in Pretoria was gridlocked from early in the morning, and shops along the procession route were closed.

Mandela's death last Thursday (December 5) at the age of 95 sparked an outpouring of grief and mourning in the country he led from 1994 to 1999 as its first black president.

Mandela's body will lie in state for three days at the Union Buildings, where he was inaugurated as president in 1994 after the first all-race elections that ended decades of white-minority apartheid rule.

He will be buried on Sunday (December 15) in Qunu, his ancestral home in the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape province, 700 km (450 miles) south of Johannesburg.

Presented by Adam Justice

Read more: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/529051/20131210/nelson-mandela-memorial-service-pics-obama-castro.htm