Nelson Mandela
The coffin of Mandela is escorted aboard a military cargo plane after a send-off ceremony in PretoriaReuters

Former South African president Nelson Mandela's body was flown to his ancestral home in Eastern Cape on Saturday ahead of the funeral scheduled on Sunday.

The coffin of the 95-year-old anti-apartheid revolutionary drapped in national flag was placed onboard a military plane after a farewell service in Pretoria, in a ceremony which was broadcast live on television. An estimated 100,000 fans were gathered in the vicinity to have a glimpse of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate for the last time.

The plane carrying Mandela's mortal remains is expected to reach Mthatha by afternoon before the final journey to his ancestral village of Qunu, where his three children and close relatives were buried. He will be given a state funeral on Sunday.

It is speculated that Madiba's close friend Desmond Tutu, the former archbishop, was not invited to the funeral service. However, South African President Jacob Zuma's spokesperson has claimed that he is in the invitee list.

The 82-year-old, who does not share good relations with the African National Congress (ANC), missed Tuesday's memorial service in Sowetto, which was attended by several leaders from around the world.

Mandela passed away at his home in Johannesburg on 5 December, after fighting a lung infection for a long time. Zuma had announced that the funeral of the anti-apartheid revolutionary would be held at his ancestral home in the Eastern Cape on 15 December.

The coffin of Mandela is escorted aboard a military cargo plane after a send-off ceremony in Pretoria
The coffin of Mandela is escorted aboard a military cargo plane after a send-off ceremony in Pretoria
The coffin of Mandela is escorted aboard a military cargo plane after a send-off ceremony in Pretoria
The coffin of Mandela is escorted aboard a military cargo plane after a send-off ceremony in Pretoria
An C-130 transporting the coffin of Mandela is escorted by Jas Gripen fighter jets while taking off after a send-off ceremony in Pretoria
An C-130 transporting the coffin of Mandela is escorted by Jas Gripen fighter jets while taking off after a send-off ceremony in Pretoria
A C-130 transporting the coffin of Mandela takes off after a send-off ceremony in Pretoria
A C-130 transporting the coffin of Mandela takes off after a send-off ceremony in Pretoria
South African President Zuma wipes his eyes during a send-off ceremony for Nelson Mandela in Pretoria
South African President Zuma wipes his eyes during a send-off ceremony for Nelson Mandela in Pretoria
Villagers hold posters as they wait for the funeral cortege carrying the coffin of Mandela, just outside the village of Qunu
Villagers hold posters as they wait for the funeral cortege carrying the coffin of Mandela, just outside the village of Qunu