Jacob Zuma has hailed the legacy of Nelson Mandela saying he "stood for freedom and fought those who oppressed others".
The South African president was speaking in front of mourners including Winnie Mandela at a service in Johannesburg to commemorate the life of Mandela who died on Thursday at the age of 95.
Zuma said Mandela helped unite South Africa as the "rainbow nation" though his belief in reconciliation.
The service marks the start in a series of events to honour South Africa's first black president culminating in Mandela's funeral next Sunday.
Nelson Mandela's first ever television interview was given to ITN reporter Brian Widlake in May 1961.
Former ITV News presenter Sir Trevor McDonald was the first journalist to interview Nelson Mandela after his release from prison in 1990.
Nelson Mandela was a towering figure of utter integrity who will be remembered as the greatest African.