In pictures: South Africa says farewell to Nelson Mandela

South Africa has said its final farewell to Nelson Mandela, the man who reconciled the country in its most vulnerable period.

Several thousand guests, including Prince Charles, Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey, gathered in Qunu to pay tribute to the anti-apartheid leader who died on December 5 at the age of 95.

After the funeral ceremony, a smaller group of guests will attend the former president's burial at family grave site in the rural village.

The coffin carrying former South African President Nelson Mandela is escorted in. Credit: Reuters
Candles are lit under a portrait of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Credit: Reuters
The coffin of South African former president Nelson Mandela is carried inside.
Richard Branson and U.S. TV host Oprah Winfrey attend the funeral. Credit: Reuters
Winnie Mandela pictured with Jacob Zuma. Credit: Reuters

Read: Graca Machel and Winnie Mandela walk hand-in-hand

Archbishop Desmond Tutu (R) and former South African President Thabo Mbeki greet each other before the funeral ceremony. Credit: Reuters
Nandi Mandela, granddaughter of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Credit: Reuters

Watch: Mandela 'went to school barefoot and rose to power'

Ahmed Kathrada, close friend of former South African President Nelson Mandela, speaks during the service. Credit: Reuters
Jacob Zuma pays tribute to Nelson Mandela.

Watch: Jacob Zuma pays tribute to Mandela in song

Nelson Mandela's ex-wife Winnie and his widow Graca Machel walked into the funeral service holding hands Credit: Reuters
Graca Machel, widow of former South African President Nelson Mandela, wipes her tears. Credit: Reuters
Zindzi (L), daughter of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Credit: Reuters
Mourners watch the funeral of former President Nelson Mandela. Credit: Reuters

Read: Tributes paid to Mandela outside his former residence

A woman, draped in a cloth with an image of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Credit: Reuters
Locals watch the funeral ceremony on a public viewing point near the burial ground. Credit: Reuters
Nelson Mandela's ancestral home and funeral grounds are seen in the background. Credit: Reuters
Villagers make their way towards a public viewing area. Credit: Reuters

Read: Farewell Madiba and thank you