Other African presidents in attendance include Mr. Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Mr. Museveni of Uganda.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday attended the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa for a second term in office.
Mr. Jonathan is currently facing the tough task of finding girls who were kidnapped from a Borno secondary school and taming Boko Haram insurgents who have intensified attacks in most of Northern Nigeria.
The president had on Thursday refused to address citizens of Nigeria and the #BringBackOurGirls protesters who sought him for assurances that the over 250 girls abducted in Chibok, Borno State will be rescued alive.
He, instead, sent a delegate led by the Abuja Minister of State, who also read a speech that aggravated rather than douse the doubts of the capability of the Nigerian government to successfully rescue the girls.
Presidential Spokesperson, Reuben Abati, told Daily Independent newspaper that the President would leave for South Africa on Friday and be back on Saturday.
Mr. Jonathan, his Zimbabwean and Ugandan counterpart, Robert Mugabe and Yoweri Museveni, and officials from Russia, China and India attended the elaborate swearing-in ceremony.
Mr. Zuma, who had an outstanding victory in the May 7 election, was sworn in at 09:00 GMT on Saturday.