Johannebsurg - Former president Nelson Mandela fought a good fight during his lifetime, Rev Frank Chikane told mourners outside Mandela's home in Vilakazi Street, Soweto, on Friday night.
Mandela once lived in the house with his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. It has since been turned into a museum.
Chikane said pastors sometimes lacked the words to say when they had to speak about someone who had died.
“But with Mandela, I can boldly stand and say he fought a good fight,” he said.
He encouraged South Africans to celebrate Mandela, and not to mourn him.
“We aren't here to mourn him, but we are here to celebrate him.
“We have good reason to celebrate the life of Ntate (father) Mandela,” said Chikane.
Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau also addressed the crowd.
He said being on Vilakazi Street reminded him of the gathering there after Mandela's release from prison in 1990.
People, many dressed in ANC and Mandela T-shirts, sang, danced and marched up and down the street.
Several women, dressed in ANC Women's League uniform, joined in.
Many of the mourners carried Madiba posters and flyers. One man carried a large flag bearing a picture of Mandela's face.
Mandela, 95, died on Thursday at his Houghton home. His funeral will be held in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, on December 15.