The procession carrying Nelson Mandela’s body has departed on its first journey to the Union Buildings, where the adored statesman’s body will lie in state. Over the next three days, Mandela’s remains will be transported between the Union Buildings and One Military Hospital where it will be kept overnight. Mandela’s eldest grandson Mandla Mandela accompanied the procession with members of the family in a vehicle that travelled behind the one bearing the coffin. In accordance with Thembu custom, only male members of the family accompanied the body. The body will be prepared by medical specialists every morning and every afternoon during the period that it will be transported. Traditional rites will also be performed every day. This morning, the procession departed One Military Hospital preceded by nine metro police motorcycles as well as 15 military police motorcycles which were driven in a tight formation. The coffin, draped in a South African flag, is being transported in the back of a black Mercedes Benz Vito van. The procession, which was due to start at 7am, was delayed by about 15 minutes. An Oryx Air Force Helicopter had been circling overhead waiting for the procession to start. Two police helicopters could also be seen in the distance. The intersection outside One Military Hospital was flooded with singing and dancing civilian hospital personnel after the procession had passed. By the time Madiba’s body had passed, overcast conditions over One Military Hospital cleared up and the sun began to shine.