tv Consider This Al Jazeera December 5, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm EST
in america our first black president spoke of his shehero,e first black president. >> he no longer belongs to us, but by the ages. >> to his county he represented forgiveness. >> you have a limited type of to stay on earth. you must try to use that period for the purpose of transforming the country in what you desire it to be. a democratic nonracial, non-sexist country. that is a great task. >> hello, i'm antonio mora, welcome to a special edition of "consider this". the man known as madiba said
courage was not the absence of deed. born to a royal tribal family naming him rolihlahla dalibhunga, which means trouble maker, he lived up to his name. after studying law he dedicated himself to apartheid. a system imposed on the black african. nelson mandela was arrested in sentenced to life in prison. he spent 28 years behind bars, mostly in a tiny cell on robin island near cape town. nelson mandela's brutal imprisonment led to tuberculosis and damaged eye sight. his fame grew and the world clamoured for the release of a man the symbol of the civil
rights movement. finally he walked out of prison. four years later he was elected south africa's first president. let's examine the man behind the status. our first guest had a strong connection. his grandfather taught mandela and his grandmother visited the south african leader in prison. it's a pleasure to have you here. i know you are the headmaster of the groten school. i'm glad you took time on what must be a hard day, given the family connections you had and you know him yourself. >> thank you for having me, i'm honoured to be here and i thank groten school for allowing me to be here. the man would have loved that.
>> tell me about your family and connections to nelson mandela. >> my grandfather taught nelson mandela in college in social anthropology. they belonged to the anc, the same organization. my grandmother was also a political leader within the anc. >> and your grandmother then also was close to him and visited him in prison, and nelson mandela wrote her. >> several times, and my grandmother would write back. she told me she wrote so many letters, some of which never reached him. a few made it all the way and she put them into a book. and after giving them to the archives. >> having visited him in prison where he suffered, he it
tuberculosis, problems with his eyesight. she must have seen the suffering. what did she say or what do you think about how he left prison and had the grace and indignity to invite the gaolers. >> at this point i have to d admit when she came back i thought she'd come back with a message of fighting. let's continue the fight. she said, "you'll be surprised, my grandson, nelson mandela is going to tell us all to reconcile, shake hands with our former enemies." he is convinced he'll be released. she came back convinced the man had not changed. he was for the policies and would reconcile. desmond tutu, the arch bishop also an important civil right
figure has said that prison changed nelson mandela from an aggressive young mill tant. isn't it ironic that terrible imprisonment may have forged him as the great leader he became? >> i think that most people forget he was a great leader before going into prison. i have been watching the reports on him, and they seem to forget the contributions he made and all the things that he did before he went into gaol. he was a leader long before he went into prison. perhaps prison made him mellow, but he was the same nelson mandela that went into prison. he was for peace, not violence, until he saw people needed to be defended. he turned to violence. >> sorry, it was really not violence, it was defense, he never was violent. >> exactly, but he preached
nonviolence strongly and it got to the point where after a mass anger and things that happened, defense, they felt they needed to take up arms to struggle against the white avry carna government that was oppressing people. i didn't mean it in a pejorative way. prison, mellowing him out, do you think nelson mandela that went into prison angry for good reasons, would have been able to have the grace that he had after prison, and when he was able to reconcile with the people who had imprisoned him for so long? >> i think so. i mean, it - i am not one of those who believes that prison was necessary. it was totally unnecessary. i'll say a story, this is in nelson mandela's book himself. when he was young and mill tant, which is what we all are when we
are young, he accused my grandfather of being too close to white people. my grandfather said, "nelson mandela, i will fail you in my class if you look at people as black and white." they were talking about this in the "30s and "40s, so he was bred in the spirit of nonracialism and was angry in the sense of seeing his people butchered. deep down he was a man of peace. >> he had friends of all colours from an early age. the fact that he had the strength, you're talking about what he said to your grandfather, and your grandfather said to him, but the reality is he was criticised to being too close to whites, and not taking action by some of the more radical elements of congress. president clinton said that nelson mandela chose the politics of inclusion, instead
of the politics of resentment, and that had to be a difficult choice given some of the pressures he was under. >> i'm glad you are using the term inclusion. apartheid meant exclusion. he felt the best way to defeat the whole exclusion that apartheid represented was to be as inclusive as possible. yes, there were some among the liberation movements, not just the anc who questioned the logic behind reconciliation and speaking to the actual enemy, but whilst nelson mandela said, "i spent 27 years in prison", all of us had to keep quiet and listen to him. we trusted him. >> and desmond tutu also said that had nelson mandela not taken that position, that had nelson mandela not had the dignity and the grace and the
strength to reconcile, that the country would have gone up in flames. do you think he saved the country from a civil war? >> he saved the country from bloodshed, yes. especially after the death of chris ani. after he was assassinated, it was nelson mandela that came up and said as angry and sad as he was, he said, "lettuce -- let us have elections, no one should pick up guns and be violent." >> you may have seen a multiracial group of people singing, gathering throughout africa singing "nelson mandela, nelson mandela, there's no one else like you", a song sung it first in protest of his imprisonment. do you think the grief will turn to celebration of this great
man's life? >> well, before that happened, when students came into my house we are singing the same song. some of the students joined me. this man gave us 95 years of his life. lessons of life of inclusion. with holes in our hearts, but we should celebrate for the next 95 years with a man like this in our midst. i don't think there'll be a problem at all. grief will not turn into anything, except what he represented. >> we hope that will be the case. i appreciate your tim. my condolences to you and your family on the loss of a dear fend for generations. thank you. we'll see what impact nelson mandela had on race relations in america after the break.
strategic and international studies africa program. who served as the first regional democracy and deposit advisor for southern africa at usaid. and also by jason johnson, an al jazeera consultant and professor at hiram college. thank you for joining us. the influence of individual men on historical event is often overstated. in this case do we have a clear example of a man who made a dramatic difference, especially when you compare what happened in south africa to nearby rhodesia and zimbabwe, where there was apartheid and that country descended into chaos? >> absolutely. leaders make the difference and the contrast you drew against nelson mandela, and robert mugabe.
as great as nelson mandela was, one of his greatest aspect that hadn't been touched on by a sufficient number of people is that he was a team player. the anc was a large big tent national organization, tumbo was the leader until his death in the 1990s. he led while nelson mandela was in prison. armond. and chris honey mentioned earlier. he pulled the group together and his wisdom and patients, gentleness and toughness. the form area apartheid regime tried to play him off against other leaders to split the anc. he never allowed it to happen. >> tough, but was he contradictory. he was a socialist. he flirted with communism.
was he a pragmatist, did he want what was best for africa? >> he was a prague r -- practicing mattist. had nelson mandela come into power as the president of south africa, the first democratically elected president and said he was going to nationalize everything, they would have come down like a tonne of bricks much he made the right decision for his country. >> he's been criticised for not being as good at governs as he was in leading. has there been enough change in south africa, the white minority controls the majority of the economy. >> he was good at leading.
the task that if asked him after taking power in 1994, and the period between his release in 1990 and 1994 elections was a tush -- tush u lant war. he led the negotiations, he was not the chief negotiators. he oversaw the negotiations to this new constitution that brought south africa into a new political dispensation with a strong bill of rights, in fact, a model bill of rights, a strong independent supreme court. he was very much the leader of a transition, and then in his first five years of office, his only five years, because we must remember one of his great lessons of leadership is that he stepped down after a term and relinquished power. during the five years most of the attention was put on
revising, repealing the apartheid laws that made south africa a segregated society and modifying other laws and dealing with the needs of electricity, housing, water, sewerage, basic provisions to make life better in the african townships outside the cities. the problem is south africa today, 15 years since he left office, he's faced with a host of an intractable problems in order to have a high rate of economic growth, to reduce levels of unemployment. until that is done, the problem of two economic nations - one largely white and the other largely black. nelson mandela presided over the beginning of a significant black middle class. >> jason, as we saw the multiracial celebrations in
south africa, could it be possible the man who did so much in life, to unite south africa could do more in death? >> i don't think you can do more in death than you can life, and not someone like nelson mandela. when you look at the leadership that followed him. you have umbeki saying aids was caused by poverty and jacob zuma with corruption standards. nelson mandela was a tourist attraction, a moral standard. tourists wanted to go and donate and work and have a chance to meet with him. his loss is not just a loss of a great world lead, but a loss for south africa. he was their national ambassador. i expect when his funeral occurs, it will be twice that of princess di. >> he had a big impact in the united states. what was his influence on the civil rights movement.
what was his influence here in the u.s.? >> i can tell you personally, as a generation xor, an amazing thing to see is how quick it ended. we didn't have fire hoses and dogs, the civil rights movement. seeing the challenges in the 1980s, and early 1990s, it gave people another way to look at how civil rights was handled. it was a way of seeing real life. large numbers of student were a part of that movement and moved in subsequent years to start businesses and rebuild south africa. this was a great loss and real-life history for many of us. >> we really appreciate you both joining us to give us your perspective on this great man. >> harmeli aregawi has been following the media reaction.
>> we asked our viewers to tell us what nelson mandela symbolizes to them in one word. some include: >> along with that celebrities shared photos of themselves with nelson mandela. nelson mandela had a cammio as a teamer in "malcolm x." >> you can read more on the website. >> straight ahead - from music to television and a new tim that will open across the country. we look at the cultural impact nelson mandela had in america.
>> do you plead guilty or not guilty? >> my lord, it is not i but the government who should plead guilty. >> you will never leave. >> you will never touch a woman or child again. >> the harder oppressed, the harder we fight. >> freedom is an ideal for which i am prepared to die. >> a brief look at a new and inspiring film nelson mandela. "long walk to freedom", it's hollywood's recent take on the great south african leader whose cultural impact stretched from film to television and musical litera
literature. bill wyman is with us now. we'll get to the film in a moment. the music world played a big fight in the part against apartheid. there were concerts to fight for mandela's release. how did his influence in inspire musicianses. >> assumes these worlds intermingle. there were black and white members, a two-tone movement. a song they had was called "free nelson mandela", a beautiful sound influencing a nation. there was the sun city song and video. a book end to the, "we are the world" superstar song.
this was a very, very potent political song about sun city, about artists playing in sun city, a fas ard for the apartheid government of south africa. so you saw a movement taking definite shots at the political situation. >> sun city being the vegas equivalent to south africa. many boycotted it. >> right, because some played there taking home large paychecks. nelson mandela was a living saint. he was a - there was a big birthday concert for him. hundreds of millions saw it. many of the political speeches from the stage were taken out of the broadcast. in britain and america.
there was a lot of talk about him being a terrorist. there was movement from a mysterious figure. he'd been in gaol since 1964. the film prem aired. it's the latest in a long line of movies. it's going be a respectful big biopick, something along the lines of gandhi. what we saw, perhaps, that one of the things nelson mandela - he became an extraordinary figure. the idealism of pop music, that's what it's all about. he sort of lived up to all the ideas that people fostered and printed on him when he was a figure in gaol. now he's the sainted figure, there's a bunch of music and categories. everyone is saying in this performance is a terrific one.
>> i know nelson mandela himself didn't want to be considered a saint. many would see him as such. he's been played on him by men, but morgan freeman played him in "victuk", it was an important moment in the white and black issues. >> saint is a word bandied around. i think he is someone we should give credit for for not - for bringing his country back from the brink and taking chances that we saw in "victus", and the other movies. >> it's great to see the hollywood portrayal of the leader. they are inspiring to watch. this does it for this special edition of "consider this," celebrating the life of nelson mandela. see you next time.
>> remembering the life and legacy of nelson mandela. i'm john siegenthaler. welcome to al jazeera america. news came this afternoon that nelson mandela passed away in his home at the age of 95. south african president jacob zuma made the announcement. >> nelson mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation has departed. >> nelson mandela had been ill for some time. he was in a hospital fighting pneumonia and lung problems. his family described him as struggling, but teaching life
lessons from his death bed. he was married three times, fathered three children, 17 grandchildren. he made history when he became the first democratically elected president in 1994, ending years of white rules under apartheid, doing it after spending 28 years in prison. mike hanna has more. >> the life of rolihlahla dalibhunga was one lived for others. not for him the luxury of privacy, the ability of celebrating a moment away from the public eye. even when he arrived to bury his granddaughter killed in a car dent a camera was there. a smile as he greets friends, sadness set aside so they can be comforted. and a smile in final years, as on each birthday he was
surrounded by family and friends, a children's choir on hands. a birthday song encompassing the love and gratitude of a nation. it was, in public, a life enjoyed. one in which nelson mandela was prepared to give up everything, including his freedom for what he believed. >> there are many people that feel it is useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and nonviolence against a government. and under defenseless people. >> it's a belief for which he spent 10,053 days in prison, time spent making this man and his cause stronger. nelson mandela was a face on a poster. his laws outlawed and found in books and faded footage. few in south africa ever saw.
that changed in february 1990 when he walked out of prison and returned to his sow wetto a free man. >> i have spoken about freedom in my lifetime. your struggle. your commitment and discipline. it had relieved me to stand before you today. >> nelson mandela left the negotiations to the government that kept him in prison for so long, finding in national party leader fw dekirk a man he could do business. it was a process threatened by violence. the smile disappeared as the anc
leader publicly berated those he held responsible. but for nelson mandela, the process was not personal. >> we are not deal with a man, an individual. we are dealing with a government, a system, a party. >> as the country was pushed towards a democracy, nelson mandela and dekish were awarded the "the new york observer." >> south africans in 1974 went to the polls. among them an incann dessant nelson mandela, voting for the first time. he became the president of a country in which he had been an outlaw. one in which he said the people now governed. >> on this day you, the people, took your destiny into your own hands. you decided that nothing would
prevent you from exercising your hard-won right to elect a government of your choice. >> after one term of president nelson mandela did what few leaders did before, stemming down with humour and grace. >> the time has come to hand over. at the age of 78 he arbitrated in a number of conflicts, no matter who was vved. there were no sames of lonely innocence from a man in a marriage that survived nelson mandela said imprisonment and freedom. at the age of 80. nelson mandela married a gain.
the bride was graca mandela, a union celebrated by all. >> my wife and i. >> a union that lasted for the rest of his life. >> my wife and i say thank you very much. >> but before he died there was a chance for the world to thank him. on a chilly winter's night nelson mandela made a last appearance at an event. acknowledging the crowd and stirring hearts as the world cup football final was held for the first time in africa. staging a number of miles away from the sow wetto home where
nelson mandela lived. in recent times there was a fleeting sight of ambulances carrying him to and from hospital. a chest infection diagnosed when he was in prison continuing to reoccur. the images were broadcast on state television, a grinning jacob zuma visiting his presidential predecessor, unaware of what was going on around him. the only visible reaction to the flash of a camera as nelson mandela was thrown into the public domain. the images come and go. this will be left behind, the colours of a democratics south africa emblazed in the sky. his ultimate legacy, not symbols, but the intangible love found in the ordinary south africans, black and white, the
people he led to freed i'm not. >> that was mike hanna reporting. we have live pictures in johannesburg, outside nelson mandela's home. it is early morning, 5:37. daylight has broken and this has been going on. this celebration of nelson mandela's life has been going on for hours and hours through the night, through the early morning, and we expect it to continue for many days. back in the united states president obama paid tribute to the life of nelson mandela, he ordered the flags at the white house to fly at half mast. let's hear more about the call to south african president jacob zuma. >> it was shortly after jacob zuma announced the passing of nelson mandela to south africa and the world that president obama took to the briefing room to talk about his reminiscenses
and everything that nelson mandela meant to him. some time in the evening, you are right. the president placed a phone call to jacob zuma. he expressed condolences from himself and michelle obama. he called nelson mandela a man of kindness and humility, influencing his own life, and the president only met nelson mandela one time as a senator. he had visited south africa twice, once as a senator and once this past june with his family, unable to meet the ailing nelson mandela at this point. the president took to the briefing room, talked about the inspiration that nelson mandela was for him, talked about the anecdote. nelson mandela and a struggle against apartheid, inspired president obama as a student in
the late '70s, and early '80s, to become involved in politics for the first time. let's listen to what obama had to say. >> we will not see the likes of nelson mandela again. it falls to us as best we can for the example that we set, to make decisions guided not by hate, but love, to never discount conditions, to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice. for now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that nelson mandela lived. a man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of morelness in justice. >> president obama added that he cannot imagine what his life
would be without the example nelson mandela set. we understand that it's expected that president obama will attend the funeral in south africa. >> thank you very much. tom, i want to go back to our shot out of johannesburg and listen in to the celebration that conditions to break out. [ singing ] >> there has been tremendous reaction around the world and in the united states. former president george w. bush was president on the day in 1980 when nelson mandela walked free. he and barbara bush released a statement saying:
>> i want to bring in congressman charlie ranble joining us from harlem. you met with nelson mandela after he was released from prison. can you take us back to that moment? >> well, i had no idea that the president would have known me. i was with a congressional delegation, and this was before the election, and ron brown, who was secretary of commerce, i was so awed for the rest of my life i was speechless. when he called this the bloody wrangle amendment which cut off united states doing business in south africa and thanks to me and america, i never thought i
would meet a guy like that. there's something i'd like to say that i don't think others could be aware of. that is that he has given a gift to african-americans that i cannot think of anyone else giving. most people have history that they can talk about from countries all over the world. those of african dissent, they had names taken away, culture, songs, languages, and even in taking away they substitute it with stain and sense of infear yorty to people of south africa. when african-americans and africans - people of african assent all over the world saw this giant of a man, saw this man and little black kids said, "mummy, he looks like me, doesn't me?" there is no gift that god can give that was more precious than
that. i don't know what is takes for god to qualify a person to become a saint, but i heard the word overqualify and nelson mandela had a blessed way of bringing people together, black and white, jew and gen tile and served as a symbol for people who want to be leaders all over the world, as to what suffering and forgiveness can do to go from a gaol cell to the president of the south africa. a magnificent man. >> you made a terrific tribute then. i want to go back to your comments about god. you put out a press relief in which you said god spent a long time making nelson mandela. other are than some things you said, what else made nelson mandela special? well, i could not imagine a story of somebody
heading for freed, comitted no long criminal or moral or gaol for 27 years by a minority in a country, that he was a part of the majority. i was at his inauguration. to have next to him the white prison gods that he had forgiven. but just to be able to do it. i think they would never test me for that type of forgiveness, bringing together white racist in south africa, is it with the majority of africans, something that most would believe that led
to blood shed, instead of all of the people coming together to elect him as president. and as a politician. him leaving the office and not being a - not being defeated in office, is seldom something you see that great people are act do that and to walk away and turn the country over to other people. so the whole idea that he made the whole world give respect to a submission white and black under his historic leadership. is absolutely a blessing for the world. >> let me ask you a question. what influence do you think this man halfway around the world had on african american politicians like yourself? >> i know therecomes a time in
life where you think you can't prevail, you wonder whether it is all worthwhile. you think why has god picked me. i'm saying any time anyone that is trying to bring justice and equality to people and feel that they are being passed over, think of nelson mandela, 27 years and he never gave up. whether you are a politician are leader or community leader, or anyone blessed. there has to be times you feel depressed, but you can never imagine how you would feel if you had to do 27 years in prison. nelson is a political inspiration, but he's also a spiritual inspiration. >> were you around when nelson mandela went to harlem.
if you were, what do you remember. >> you bet your life. we had the first black mayor, david jenkins, he made the arrangements to bring nelson to harlem. i'm now on the same street. which we set up with tens of thousands all over the city, came to say that they were near nelson mandela. the whole community has never seen a turn out like that. this was an exciting day and even right now i guess your camera can't reach it. when he came here, he said that we can call it and that's what
he's going to do. >> thank you congressman. thank you very much. >> earlier i spoke to reverend jessie jackson and talked about the moment nelson mandela was released from prison. >> when i was in cape town south africa. he was released and i met him at the door and he recognised me and called my name. i was overwhelmed. his campaign, he knew what was going on. he was current, alive and alert. he didn't just read the speech that day, he wrote it. he also was a great debater. his mind was as sharp as much as before. he never lost the sharpliness of his mind. >> reverend jessie jackson.
>> it was more than 20 years ago that mr nelson mandela visited atlan atlan atlanda -- atlant ageorgia and paid his respects. robert ray is at the historic site. >> we have a special privilege, al jazeera america does to be at the king site at downtown atlanta where martin luther king and his wife are buried behind me. june 27th, 1990, nelson mandela at the tail end of his american tour stopped here in atlanta. some of the first things he said when he got off the plane is it reminded him because of his home
town of south africa, because of the landscape and warmth. it was a hot day. it was a whirl wind tour around the state of georgia, as he was escorted in a bulletproof limousine and brought out at three locations, morehouse college being one, where he was made an honorary morehouse man. after that, as you can see, the cameraman can zoom in, he was brought to this site where martin luther king is buried. nelson mandela lay a wreath. he was with his wife. he was put back into his limousine, stepped into the camera and brought to georgia tech's football stadium where
50,000 plus were in the stands waiting for him. one of our producers was there as a civilian, describing it being louder than anyone could imagine. it was an electric scene. it took 15 minutes for the crowd to calm their voices down before he could speak. he made many references to martin luther king to that, one of them being let freedom ring in south africa, taking a piece from martin luther king's speech. nelson mandela was praised and loved in atlanta. he made the visit because of the civil rights movement. he made a lot of references during that speech to his own country and south africa and the similarities between the civil rights movement in america. >> robert ray in atlanta for us.
>> in 1990 nelson mandela visited new york city as we mentioned earlier following his release from prison. thousands gathered in harlem to hear him speak. john this afternoon, what can you tell us? >> a lot of people have been stopping buy just to share memories. as you mentioned it was 1990, 100,000 were in new york city. there was so much anticipation and people remember him stopping and pointing to the apollo theatre. you can see the marquee is up, it's been up since the news came out. it says in memory of nelson mandela, he changed our world. many remember in 1990 when they made the visit they had a marquee saying welcome mr and mrs nelson mandela. it was an electrifying time. there was a huge parade. people remember standing on top
of the mar key to get a great vantage point. it was something of hope. it was felt his visit was significant. there was a time when there was a sense of hope and pride in harlem. we talked to an historian at the theatre. a lot of people felt like nelson mandela is here. someone who has been through so much and has every reason to be bitter, but he is not. maybe i need to get my act together. there's a memorial, not that visible from where we are, candle, and a few cars. more are stopping by to share the memories of that day in 1990 that he came to new york and so many came to see him. >> jonathan martin in harlem for us. thank you very much. >> here is a look at - we'll listen to an excerpt from nelson mandela's famous inaugural
address. >> well, obviously we don't have that piece of tape. we'll continue the coverage on al jazeera america in a moment. we want to recap what has happened. the news, looking outside at the home of nelson mandela. this is the scene outside. it has looked that way for hours and hours. people have been in the streets. now in the morning daylight, celebrating the life of nelson mandela, and mourning his passing. we'll continue to have coverage of nelson mandela's life and death on al jazeera america and we'll be back after this.
>> good evening. welcome to al jazeera america. i'm john siegenthaler in new york. peacemaker, freedom fighter, hero for change and hope. the world celebrates the life of nelson mandela. >> he no longer belongs to u he belongs to the ages. >> nelson mandela said it, "it always seems impossible until it's done", for this towering revolutionary who spent decades in prison for believing in freedom and equality nothing is impossible. the world is a better place because of him. the former south african president died at his home. heas