Mourners filed past the body of Nelson Mandela on a sunny afternoon in South Africa's capital of Pretoria today, as the former president's remains lay in state for the second of three days.

Mandela's casket is in the amphitheatre at the Union Buildings — the seat of government — where the national hero was inaugurated as the country's first black and democratically elected president in 1994.

Mandela will be buried on Sunday in the village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, where he spent his childhood.

Thousands of people queued quietly and respectfully to view the casket. Some were draped in the colourful South African flag, and many carried pictures of Mandela.

"South Africans really are trying to get their chance to see the man before his body goes off to the Eastern Cape to be buried," said the CBC's Susan Ormiston in Pretoria.

"They've been waiting for hours this morning to go up to the Union Buildings for his lying in state.

"They'll have one more day tomorrow to try to get in, but the question now is whether there will be enough time for all the people who want to see him to go."

Mandela died at his home in Johannesburg on Dec. 5 at age 95.


South Africans queue to view the body of former president Nelson Mandela outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday, the day following the international memorial service. (Kevin Coombs / Reuters)

His memorial service at FNB Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday drew heads of state from around the world and thousands of South Africans to honour his memory.