Zambia is holding a state funeral for President Michael Sata, who died last month in a UK hospital at the age of 77.
Tens of thousands of people are attending the Catholic Mass at the National Heroes Stadium in the capital, Lusaka.
Regional leaders are amongst those who have come to pay their respects.
Known as “King Cobra” for his venomous tongue, Mr Sata was elected Zambia’s president in 2011.
The country is now being run by an acting president, and fresh elections are expected in January.
The BBC’s Dennis Okari in Lusaka says it is a very moving and emotional ceremony.
When the coffin of the late president was brought into the stadium there was a deafening wailing, he says.
Over the past week, members of the public have paid their respects to their former leader – streaming past Mr Sata’s body as it lay in state at the Mulungushi International Conference Center.
His death came days after Zambia celebrated the 50th anniversary of independence from the UK.
He was the second Zambian president to die in office.