Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was among the guests allowed to attend the gravesite where former president Nelson Mandela will be buried in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.
His name was called as one of the religious leaders allowed to the family burial area.
Earlier this weekend, Tutu said he would not attend the funeral, accusing government of not making him feel welcome.
He said he did not want to “gatecrash” the funeral of his longtime ally and friend.
On Saturday night, he said he would attend after all.
Spokesman Roger Friedman said Tutu would catch a flight early in the morning and would attend Mandela’s funeral on Sunday in the village of Qunu. He did not explain Tutu’s reversal.
Tutu arrived at the venue moments before the coffin was delivered on Sunday morning.
About 5000 people attended the service, which was held in a domed arena. Only about 450 of them will be allowed to proceed to the gravesite.
The others have been requested to watch proceedings on big screens.
The funeral service ran almost two hours overtime.