Published Tuesday, 10 December 2013
Thousands of people attended the commemoration. (© Getty)
British Prime Minister David Cameron, US President Barack Obama and Irish President Michael D Higgins are also among the dignitaries who attended the commemoration at Johannesburg's FNB Stadium on Tuesday.
Thousands of people gathered to pay tribute to the anti-apartheid revolutionary and first black president of South Africa, who died last Thursday aged 95.
Speeches were made by President Obama, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and South African president Jacob Zuma, as the extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela was celebrated.
"He was not a bust made of marble - he was a man of flesh and blood, a son and a husband, a father and a friend," Mr Obama told the crowd.
"That is why we have learned so much from him and that is why we can learn from him still.
"Nothing he achieved was inevitable - in the arc of his life, we see a man who earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness and persistence and faith."
Andrew Mlangeni, a former prisoner on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela, spoke of the "outpouring of love" following his death.
"Madiba is looking down on us. There is no doubt he is smiling and he watches his beloved country, men and women, unite to celebrate his life and legacy," he said.
Ahead of his trip, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness told the Stormont Assembly on Monday: "This was a man who was an incredible supporter of our peace process, and I will be very honoured to represent our Executive and this Assembly at this memorial in South Africa."
Meanwhile, David Cameron had paid tribute in the House of Commons to a man he described as a "towering figure in our lifetime".
He added: "Progress is not just handed down as a gift, it is won through struggle - the struggle of men and women who believe things can be better, who refuse to accept the world as it is but dream of what it can be. Nelson Mandela was the embodiment of that struggle."
FNB Stadium, in the Soweto township, is where Mandela made his last public appearance at the closing ceremony of the 2010 football World Cup.
His funeral and burial will take place in his home village of Qunu on Sunday.
© UTV News