Nelson Mandela’s daughter Makaziwe has told the BBC about the “wonderful” final hours of the former president, who died aged 95 last Thursday.
Ms Mandela said his wife Graca, the children and grandchildren were all there to say goodbye.
South Africa is observing a series of commemorations over the next week, leading up to the funeral on Sunday.
More than 100 current or former heads of state or government will attend the funeral or Tuesday’s national memorial.
Makaziwe Mandela told the BBC’s Komla Dumor:
“Until the last moment he had us, you know… The children were there, the grandchildren were there, Graca was there, so we are always around him and even at the last moment, we were sitting with him on Thursday the whole day.”
She said: “I think from last week, Friday until Thursday, it was a wonderful time, if you can say the process of death is wonderful. But Tata [Nelson Mandela] had a wonderful time, because we were there.
“When the doctors told us I think Thursday morning… that there was nothing that they could do, and said to me ‘Maki call everybody that is here that wants to see him and say bye bye’, it was a most wonderful day for us because the grandchildren were there, we were there.”
Ms Mandela paid tribute to the doctors for the 24-hour care.
She said: “It was like there were soldiers guarding this period of the king – yes my father comes from royalty – without them knowing they were actually practising our rituals and culture, they were there in silence and when we as family members come in they would excuse themselves and just a few of them would be there to give us the time to be around my dad’s bed.”
Ms Mandela said that, for the past few months, she would tell her father that she loved him and that would see him again tomorrow.
“And maybe he would open his eyes for just a second and close those eyes,” she said.