JOHANNESBURG — Flags were lowered to half-staff and people in black townships, in upscale mostly white suburbs and in South Africa's vast rural grasslands commemorated Nelson Mandela with song, tears and prayers on Friday while pledging to adhere to the values of unity and democracy that he embodied.
The government prepared funeral ceremonies that will draw leaders and other dignitaries from around the globe. The government has yet to announce a detailed schedule for a mourning period that is expected to last more than a week.
Hours after his death Thursday night, a black SUV-type vehicle containing Mandela's coffin, draped in South Africa's flag, pulled away from Mandela's home after midnight, escorted by military motorcycle outriders, to take the body to a military morgue in Pretoria, the capital.
Many South Africans heard the news, which was announced on state TV by President Jacob Zuma wearing mourning black just before midnight, upon waking Friday, and they flocked to his home in Johannesburg's leafy Houghton neighborhood.