The ANC says it has lost an "epitome of humility, equality" with the passing of former statesman Nelson Mandela.
The ANC early on Friday morning expressed sadness at the news of the death of former president Nelson Mandela.
"Our nation has lost a colossus, an epitome of humility, equality, justice, peace and the hope of millions, here and abroad," ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe.
Mantashe said that the nation celebrated Mandela's "ever-present smile, his love for children" and "the great respect he had for the women of this country".
President Jacob Zuma announced Mandela's death late on Thursday night.
'The nearest branch of the ANC in heaven'
Mantashe said Mandela had assumed various leadership positions and served with distinction, and reminded the world of his ANC heritage.
"He loved the ANC. Hence his frequent words that upon his death he would join 'the nearest branch of the ANC in heaven'."
The ANC sent its condolences to the entire Mandela family.
"He was as much yours as he was ours. Probably his dedication to the ANC family robbed you of a father," Mantashe said.
"We will, from this minute on, as always, walk this journey with you to the end."
He urged South Africans to participate in all activities organised in Mandela's honour in a disciplined and respectful manner.
"Rest in peace, comrade president." – Sapa, with additional reporting by the M&G.