File photo taken on Dec. 19, 2006 shows then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan smiling during his final press conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York. File picture: Zhao Peng/Xinhua.

PRETORIA - The United Nations in South Africa on Monday opened a book of condolences following the death of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who passed away on Saturday, in Switzerland, after a short illness.

"The United Nations in South Africa today opens a book of condolences in Pretoria and Johannesburg for former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan," said Masimba Tafirenyika, director of the UN Information Centre in Pretoria.

"The United Nations will be accepting messages of condolences from guests from the diplomatic community and organisations as well as members of the public who wish to sign the books."

The books are available at the UN's Metropark Building in Pretoria, and at Sunninghill Park in Johannesburg.

Annan, who served as the UN's seventh secretary general, died on at the weekend. He was 80 years of age. 

The Ghanaian diplomat was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, and was the first black African to head the UN.

He served as secretary general from January 1997 to December 2006, and later founded and chaired the Kofi Annan Foundation.

African News Agency (ANA)