tv Face the Nation CBS December 8, 2013 8:30am-9:01am PST
>> schieffer: today on "face the nation," the world remembers nelson mandela. thousands are turning out in his country as south africa holds a national day of prayer to honor the man they call mondiva the father of modern south africa. we'll talk to friends and followers of the former president who died last week at the age of 95. that and the other news of the day on "face the nation." >> schieffer: good morning again, the storm that left parts of the south and midwest in an icy deep freeze is now moved east, it's expected to hit virginia and mid atlantic states today then move up the east
coast towards boston and new york. we begin this morning in south africa where debra begins our coverage of the day of national prayer for nelson mandela. >> good morning, bob. well this being a multi-faced country we saw many church services around the country today part of the national day of prayer and reflection nor nelson mandela. in the very famous regina muda during the anti-apartheid struggle a large service there this morning, the guiding light of this country. also prayer service at a methodist church in johannesburg that was attended by the president and the nelson mandela family. winnie, his former wife and grandson. but really is the people of south africa who are defining the mood here right now.
at mandela, tribute continues to grow, people song and dance ever jubilant is constant throughout the day and night using the voice of nelson mandela gave them to celebrate his legacy as really a united rainbow nation. >> schieffer: debra, set the stage for us now. what happens through the rest of this week? >> bob, it really is a passing life no other. biggest public event tuesday at soccer stadium in soweto a national memorial service that will be attended by the president barack obama and his wife. president clinton and president george w. bush. and pop stars, actresses, actors, global dignitaries from around the world. south africa is really gearing up for a period of mourning that i can't really think of having occurred in the world before now. all of this for just one
remarkable man. >> schieffer: all right. thank you so much. so many of us came to know nelson mandela during his long struggle to bring freedom to south africa but maya angelo came to know him at the very beginning his crusade back in the 1960s. she is in one stop-salem, north carolina, it is such a pleasure to have you. how did you come to know nelson mandela? >> good morning, and how wonderful it is to speak with you. mr. mandela was an anc member, actually one of the founders of the african national union. african national congress i was married to a south african freedom fighter was a member of the pac, pan-african congress. they were archrivals. mr. mandela came to egypt where i was living and i had been so used to these rivals arguing and
shouting in the living room and in the streets against each other. there was also southwest africa national organization. when mr. mandela came he never had a crossword to say to anyone. i was amazed. i had never seen south africans who were that kind. he had a consummate to give to everybody including my housekeeper and the doorman, it was amazing. a gentle giant he was. >> schieffer: you know, you have written a wonderful poem celebrating his life and his passing. the state department has put it out on a video, i want to ask you about it, how it came about. let me play just a short clip of the beginning of this poem.
>> the news came on the wings of the wind reluctant carry its burden. nelson mandela's day is done. the news expected and still unwelcome reached us in the united states and suddenly our world became somber. our skies were lead ened. his day is done. >> schieffer: we're going to close our broadcast this morning with your poem, but i wanted to ask you, how did you come to write this? how did this come about and when did you do it? >> thank you. the state department approached me -- state department telephoned me when he was very sick about a year and half ago asked if i would write a poem -- write a tribute to him from my people, from the american people. and i said, yes.
i wrote it, but also had to agree that i would not even speak about it or release it until 48 hours after he was actually dead and i agreed. so i did it and i sent it to them, to the state department. the state department sent a crew down and i recorded it. but then i never mentioned it again to anyone, including -- close friends and family members. i just wouldn't do it. >> schieffer: you didn't mention it to us, we didn't know about it until it came out. i'd like to tell people you can find this on the state department website, you can go to youtube, you can find it on the cbs website. we will be posting it. it is called "his day is done" and we're going to close the broadcast as i said just a second ago with your poem. it is such a wonderful piece of
work. what did nelson mandela mean to you? >> i know that with the attitudes and the anger in south africa after apartheid had there been no mandela we would see the blood running in the streets. because apartheid was so brutal and people were so angry, the black people were so angry and white people felt so guilty until nelson mandela released from prison came out smiling and holding hands with whites and holding white babies and saying, this is a time for friendship. this is about south africa not about zunu or others. this is about south africa. and it amazes me that today
there are people who actually go to south africa for vacation. that is the purest act and the gift of nelson mandela. >> schieffer: what do you suppose it was about him? he had this center unlike any one that i think we've ever known about. as i was thinking about this, it was not one particular act that nelson mandela did that made him a hero. it was his whole life. where did that come from, do you think? >> well, i'm trying on a christian, and working at it, anyway, i'm always amazing people walk up to me, i'm a christian, i think, already? i'm trying to be a christian. this is for people who are jews and people who are religious jews and people who are muslims and buddhists and so forth.
i think it is knowing that there is something greater than you. that greatness might be called alla or god or whatever you call it. but there is something greater than you. and that is a good thing to do. you can stand on the good foot. you can say the kind thing. you can be generous. you can. and he showed us that. >> schieffer: go ahead. >> he also showed us how liberating it is to forgive. >> schieffer: if you were to pass on to the world one thing about nelson mandela, what would it be? >> i would talk about his kindness. you see, i think you can't really forgive unless you're
very kind. and so you forgive a person or persons or systems, you forgive them then you don't have to drag them around with you every day and all day and all night long. and so you do it, it's a gift to yourself to forgive. and i would say that nelson mandela's gift to the world was his ability to forgive. >> schieffer: we will play your poem at the conclusion of our broadcast. maya angelo it is always a pleasure, may i say an honor to have you with us this morning. >> i thank you so much. i've been so excited to speak to you. thank you very much. >> schieffer: thank you. six years before nelson mandela was released from prison an anti-apartheid activist randall robinson staged a sit in in front of the south african embassy here. he was arrested but the protests continued and public outrage
against apartheid began to grow. in 2012, randall robinson was honored by the south african government for his efforts to end apartheid. he joins us this morning from his home on st. kitz. mr. robinson, thank you so much for being with us. of course nelson mandela is revered in this country now. but in those days that was not the case at all. take us back to those days when you organized those sit-ins and tell us about that. >> we were trying to build an environment, an atmosphere in which to remove the underpinning that the united states had been providing to south africa and investments and loans, computer technology and military assistance of one kind or another. we were the legs on which apartheid stood, together with other industrialized western nations, we thought our role was
to remove that underpinning. so when we went to the embassy and met with ambassadors we told him we wouldn't leave until nelson mandela had been released from prison. at the time few americans knew much about nelson mandela, we thought we had to build a big public story, more information in america that informed americans about the role that our country had been playing. the ambassador had us arrested that was followed by 5,000 americans who came to the embassy over the next year every day to be arrested and we joined that with the work we were doing with the congress, in the senate, senator edward kennedy played a major role in the house, william h. grey, ii, played a major role and we would
meet on a regular basis in senator kennedy's office to plan the legislation that we would try to power through the congress on the wings of these demonstrations that continued to grow and across the country they grew. in the last analysis, the comprehensive anti-apartheid act was passed over the veto of president ronald reagan. rob after going through all of that, how did you feel the day that nelson mandela walked out of that priss none did you really, when you were working for this ever really think in your heart of hearts that this might actually happen? >> we thought it could happen. but we also thought that it was possible that a new generation of activists would have to take up of what we had begun. year before last my wife and i went to south africa to receive
the honors on the occasion of the country's freedom day. and to celebrate the first democratic elections in south africa we were in our hotel looking over at the ceremonies in a park and flying over us were 11 jets roaring, fighter jets roaring above our heads, fanning out in vapor trails the colors of the south african flag. the jets were flown by black south african women, symbolically that caused us much celebration in our hotel. and since apartheid ended two million homes have been -- millions of homes have been built, millions of homes have been electrified in south africa, black families now have virtually tripled in the
country. so nelson mandela ushered in a dramatically different kind of south africa. and we thought that it was our responsibility to play a small part in that struggle, because our country was a major part of the black communities problem in south africa. we were on the wrong side of the issue and on the wrong side of history. >> schieffer: it is story that has not yet ended and story that goes on. mr. robinson, thank you so much for being with us today. >> thank you for having me. >> schieffer: we'll be back in one minute with former secretary of state, james baker. i'm beth... and i'm michelle. and we own the paper cottage. it's a stationery and gifts store. anything we purchase for the paper cottage goes on our ink card. so you can manage your business expenses and access them online instantly with the game changing app from ink.
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morning, thank you for joining us. you were part of the reagan administration back when president reagan vetoed the anti-apartheid act that randall robinson discussed here just a minute ago. i wanted to ask you, did ronald reagan ever come to regret that veto? it was over written by the congress and sanctions were put on the south african government. but how did president reagan feel about that as time went on? >> well, i'm sure he did regret it, bob, in fact i'm certain that he did. it was after all i think the only time that a veto of his had been overwritten or was overwritten in two terms, i believe. and so certainly he regretted it. on the other hand, once that happened and control of south africa policy passed through the congress, president reagan was really determined to meet with and deal with the question of -- meet with the black leaders of
south africa and deal with the problems of apartheid. he was able to do so. you know, i had the privilege of meeting with nelson mandela in innabia on the day of freedom day just after was released from prison. i have to tell that you i was really amazed at the soft spokenness of this man, at the conviction of this man, at the dignity of this man. he had an enduring and endearing presence of dignity that i don't think i've ever seen on any other person. and i just have always felt that this was an an extraordinarily beautiful human being who became, of course, an icon of freedom, of human rights and of reconciliation. how many people forgive their
captors when they have been kept in prison for 27 years. and as maya angelo said to you earlier in the program had it not been for nelson mandela and by the way, f.w.declerc, there would have been blood flowing in the streets in south africa. apartheid ended peacefully. >> schieffer: that was after you became secretary of state when you met with him and by that time george h.w. bush was president. tell me a little bit about the meeting with f.w. days de clerc. >> after i met with mandela in wind does hook, namibia i went to pretoria, south africa to meet with f.w. decler, first time i had gone to south africa as secretary of state. as a matter of fact during my meeting with mandela he was not
happy with the fact that we were going to meet with f.w. declerc, but our position was we wanted to try to work with him constructively to end apartheid. mandela didn't want to see us do that. as it turned out ended up being the right thing to do. but when i met with f.w. declerc at the end of our meeting he called me in to a room, just the two of us, he said, mr. secretary, i want to tell you something. i am going to be the last white president of south africa. that was a startling statement at the time if you think back to 1990. as it turned out, of course, that was correct. >> schieffer: why do you think it took so long for them to take nelson mandela off the terrorist watch list? they had to get a waiver for him to come to in the country, i think he finally wasn't taken of until 2008? >> well, i don't know the answer to that, bob. i really don't.
i don't remember frankly all the facts regarding that. he did come -- he came, i thought, before 2008, made one visit. >> schieffer: did he? >> i know this -- >> schieffer: they had to do a waiver to get him in to the country. >> well, that's probably correct. i do know this. he came to my institute, institute that was named for me at rice university in houston, texas, in 1999. and just to give you a sense of the greatness of this man, 12-year-old boy asked him after his presentation, how do you want to be remembered, mr. mandela, everyone talks about how you're almost a saint and mandela said, son, he said, i'm no saint. i am not an angel, he said. in fact i am no saint unless you consider a saint to be a sinner who keeps on trying.
>> schieffer: all right. >> i thought that was a wonderful encapsulation of the person. >> schieffer: that's wonderful way to end this. thank you so much for being with us, mr. secretary. >> thank you, bob. >> schieffer: back in a minute. every day we're working to be an even better company - and to keep our commitments. and we've made a big commitment to america. bp supports nearly 250,000 jobs here. through all of our energy operations, we invest more in the u.s. than any other place in the world.
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you mad, what are you going to do about this? what are you going to do this these people? he said, if i felt that way, if i felt i had to do something to them i would still be in jail. my mind, my soul would still be in jail. instead he talked about reconciliation, truth in wreck on sail quakes. he is the hold of ghandi, something like that whose message was universal. he's a remarkable man, my privilege to know him. >> schieffer: did john lewis, one of the heroes of the american civil rights movement, mandela will always be the great teacher. >> nelson mandela, this one man, taught all of us how to live, how not to become bitter. someone who can go to priss son and stay all those years and come out so free. not hating anyone, not putting anyone down. i wish we had a few nelson mandelas in america, or maybe a
few more in the world to point us to the best part of our human spirit. >> schieffer: there are many heroes who by a single act or decision have changed history or at least their time. to me what sets nelson mandela apart is that his whole life was a lesson. a lessen in courage, perseverance, patience, bravery and finally forgiveness and redemption. that is rare. over the next 40 years
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