President Jacob Zuma has said South Africa will now observe 10 days of mourning in honour of Nelson Mandela, before a funeral is held on Sunday December 15 in Qunu, the village in Eastern Cape where he was born.

World leaders past and present, including every living US president, are expected to attend alongside royalty and celebrities.

Prior to the burial itself, there will be a number of memorial services and events to honour the former president.

A funeral cortege bearing Mandela's body will travel through the streets of Pretoria daily on three days before his burial.

Authorities said the cortege will leave a morgue on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning to go to the Union Buildings where his body will lie in state.

Mourners are being encouraged to line the route

This Sunday, December 8, has been declared a national day of prayer, reflection and meditation.

Mr Zuma invited people to spend the day in churches, mosques, synagogues, homes, and anywhere else they might choose to reflect on Madiba's life and his "contribution to our contry and the world".

Then on Tuesday December 10, an official memorial service will be held at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. The stadium, known as Soccer City, can hold more than 90,000 people.

From December 11 to 13, Mandela's body will lie in state at South Africa's seat of government - Pretoria's Union Buildings - while further memorial services are held throughout the country.

His body will then be taken to Qunu for his funeral on December 15.

A memorial service is expected to be held, hosted by President Zuma and attended by dignitaries, before Mr Mandela will lie in state at Pretoria city hall for three days. The coffin will reportedly have a glass top for viewing.

The funeral will also be rehearsed by the South African military several days before the service itself, which will e held at the Union Buildings amphitheatre and shown on large screens for the huge crowds.

Westminster Abbey will hold a national service of thanksgiving for the life of Mr Mandela after the state funeral in South Africa.

A book of condolence will be opened at St Margaret's Church at the Abbey from 9.30am today.

The Dean and Chapter of Westminster sent a message of condolence to the High Commissioner for South Africa.

The message read: "The Dean and Chapter of Westminster sends condolences to the family of Madiba and to the government and people of South Africa on the death of their former President, Nelson Mandela.

"He was an iconic figure who changed irrevocably the course of history in his country and the African continent and who changed the world's attitude to issues of equality and human justice."

Only a few hundred close family members will bid that final farewell to Mandela as he is laid to rest.

The burial area has been especially built for him; some of Mandela's long deceased family members are already buried at the site.