tv The Ed Show MSNBC December 5, 2013 2:00pm-3:01pm PST
al sharpton. you have been watching breaking news on the death of former south african president nelson mandela at the age of 95. our coverage continues with the ed show. >> good evening, americans and welcome to the ed show tonight. we start with tragic breaking news. former south african president nelson mandela died at the age of 95. mandela, a remarkable life dedicated his to fighting for civil rights in south africa. mandela lived long enough to see a multiracial democratic south africa. he called it the rainbow nation. the grief over his death crossed racial lines ha he devoted his to erasing. a young man at the age of 25, he joined the african national
congress in 1956. mandela was arrested with 155 other political activists and was changed with high treason. the treason trial lasted 4 1/2 years. the charges against him were ultimately dropped. mandela used a false identity to evade the government and traveled to europe and other countries in africa to built support for the anc and study guerilla warfare. when he returned to south africa in 1962, mandela was arrested and sentenced to years in prison. during his sentence, the government charmed mandela and other anc leaders with sabotage and attempting to violently overthrow the government. the winner of 1964, mandela and his colleagues were sentenced to in prison. mandela's brutal imprisonment helped win freedom for his
nation. he represented himself and in his defense spoke out about democracy. equality and freedom. on february 2nd, 1990 amidst escalating international pressure, south african president lifted the ban on the anc and released mandela. mandela was awarded the nobel peace prize in december of 1993. in april of 1994, in south africa's first truly democratic election where all races were allowed to participate, nelson mandela was overwhelming elected to the presidency. he was battling a respiratory infection since early june. a remarkable man and a remarkable life and a model of stick-to-itiveness and never give up. a man of tremendous heart and compassion. dead this night at the age of 95. joining me tonight for our
coverage on the passing of nelson mandela and joy reed of the grio and also with us tonight, dr. james peterson of lehigh university. i will start with you. a remarkable man. a life that is a true treasure to humanity. >> he is a star across all lines. >> you cannot compartmentalize him to a politician or a founting of south africa. here's a man who fought the hate and the bigotry and the institutional apartheid of a nation without internalizing it. he was able to reconcile a nation and move it forward and revolutionize it nonviolently, without firing one bullet. i was an election observer in 19 nor in johansburg the night they
lowered the flag of apartheid. we met with him many times and to see this transition happen, he nonviolently peacefully negotiated while he was in jail and couldn't even share a lot of what his fellow prisoners who had done decades in jail. he did 27 years in jail. 16 years he couldn't touch his wife's hand through the screen because it was against the law. they wouldn't allow him to get out of jail and go home to his son. the sacrifices he made not to have any ranker and deliberate that nation with no rank and revenge, he was truly one of the world's remarkable people in history. >> he went back to south africa after leaving. he was that committed. he could have been selfish and gone somewhere else in the world. how will you remember this man? what was he like to meet and to be around? >> to be in his presence, the
time that i was there, you knew you were in the presence of greatness. hoe had a gravity. hoe had a humility that you did not find in any other person. i have been around a lot of presidents and heads of state. there was something that was a balance of humility and gravity and greatness that you sense. you don't care what you thought you were going to say going into a meeting. it evaporated in his presence. it wasn't his overwhelming and the guy who tried to overwhelm or rule. it was his mere presence that changed the elements of a rule. >> what are effect did he have on you, reverend sharp? >> very much so. if i read mandela and studied robinson and admitted it and talked about it, i began to
only believing in a movement, but the impact he had was it was not enough to fight for rights, you have to be right and represent that right yourself. you can't just talk about reconciliation and peace, but they will do it by any means am you have to represent it in your walk which he evolved towards many activists who never ever reaches statutes. he challenged people to become what they claim they wanted to see. >> what were his emotions when that flag went up in 1994? >> he didn't give a lot of emotion, you can see him smile, but he was not that would be overbearing. even when he came out to the victory rally after three days of voting, you vote by party in south africa. he was not one of high prize, we
got them. he was a reserved person. you could feel the pride, but you could also feel the we must move on. many times i observed him too hot or too cold. >> was he the same president behind bars for 27 years? that can change a person. was he demeanor-wise the same person behind bars when he got power and got in a position of authority? >> he was out clearly and early 90s. from what i studied, he evolved. he was one that had become and there always was committed to the liberation of his people and
south africa and he was evolved overtime. i don't know if he was different, but more evolved and a more prepared person overtime. >> he's described as a socialist revolutionary. you are saying that to studying guerilla warfare to understanding there were other ways to get that. >> the revolution is not just done one way. revolution means you change. if you change the nonviolent peacefully electoral process which he ended up doing in 94 or other way, you still change. you cannot get caught up in the emotions, but the principals. >> what effect did he have on
american politics. >> he is a talent on social justice. reverend al is right. his goals were still transcendent to global equality. we don't have that and we are still fighting for and yet he did it in a nonviolent way with kindness. i was never blessed to meet him, but everyone was struck by the humility and he had plenty of reason to be bitter. he was in prison for 27 years and still had an amazingly full life. a young man named barack obama got involved in the struggle against apartheid at ox dental. a generation of people became of age knowing that that was a central american struggle. the struggle for justice here was related to the injustice. i think that had a profound
effect on a lot of us. >> do you think he had an effect on president obama in his early years? >> i do. he spoke about that. it was really a way for a lot of us to put together the american social and racial justice push with the global one. he was an example of somebody who did evolve. he did preach and practice and found a way to live together despite differences. >> what do you think he accomplished in his life? >> i think creating a society that was not about vengeance and learning what we all had in common. i think that modelling revolutionary values, but also with the sense of deep, deep personal kindness. and a kind of forgiveness that
not many of us would be capable of. >> reverent sharpton, do you think his impact, what impact will he have post life. how will he be remembered? >> he's the founding father. he changed the country and went from a country that was apartheid and on racism and not having a full democracy. clearly not sharing the health. he became a new country. he will be remembered in south africa as the father of a new nation, but i think he will be remembered that university. as he changed south africa and he would say the speeches and the things i read and the few times i was around, he was part of a movement. it changed all of africa and the world and the ramifications were
way beyond the boundaries. south africa became the workshop and the words became the world. the analyst and the friend of the mandela family, your emotions tonight? what can you tell us about the passing of nelson mandela? >> we have been prepared for this. i'm getting feedback here so it's difficult. we have all been prepared for this and yet when it am cans, i have to say i shed a tear. primarily because i knew nelson mandela as everything al sharpton just said. and i also knew him as a person. just before he took the oath of the office to become the president back in 1994, i was interviewing him. my second interview. i intrude him first when he got out of prison. i told him with the utmost
sadness i would not be at his inauguration. he looked at me quizically. i said my son is graduating from the university on the same day and before i could finish, he said well, you have got to be there. you can see me any time. as it turns out that was true. whenever i needed to see nelson mandela for any reason, he made himself available. while he was in a way an almost mythical figure in some sense because he carried that mystique around, he could be warm and grandfatherly. it was a pleasure to know him. today i'm surprised at myself. i shed a tear even though i, like the rest of the world, have been prepared for this day. in a funny way, he was such an extraordinary human being that all these weeks and months we have been watching him on a
ventilator and sinking in his health, you keep thinking maybe he is preparing us. in the end, i think he did. the country will be sad. i think the world will be sad. i will be sad. but at the same time what i'm hoping is that the things that you heard reverend sharpton say he stood for will come alive again. in new democracies, you need to be reminded occasionally about what a more perfect union as we have here in america is really about. i think that these young democracies take their baby steps and sometimes stumble. one of the things i'm hoping that nelson mandela's passing will do is remind south africans, the leaders and the people who follow what he stood for. the wonderful things he stood for for his country and helped them continue on. south africa next year will
celebrate its 20th year of a nonracial democracy. as reverent sharpton said, that was the stamp on the country. in his passing, one hopes that in the middle of the sadness, people remember what he stood for and what he wanted out of this is own country and the world. >> here with us tonight on the passing of nelson mandela. president obama will deliver a statement on the passing of the former south african president coming up here in about 4 1/2 minutes as soon as the president comes out. we will bring you his remarks live. president obama to speak from the white house in just a few moments. let's bring in nbc's andrea mitchell. such a full life led by nelson mandela. if you could speak about the escalating international pressure to release him back in
1990, what was that like? this must have been a real global effort. >> it was indeed. it began before that. during the reagan years, initially president reagan is very much against apartheid and he was led to the position finally of opposing apartheid by george schultz. a rising star and a strong presence on foreign policy than a senator from indiana. there was a global push for this from faith leaders and from anti-segregationists here in this country. we heard just now the secretary general of the united nations that no one has done more. no one in our era and generation has done more to fight discrimination than the moral leadership and example of this man who suffered for 27 years
yet came out of prison with his wife winnie at his side and she has been imprisoned for 18 months at that time. in the anc, they came out of prison and marched in that march and from then on, his days in prison spoke of reconciliation. for that that he won the nobel prize and went on as he became. he helped sign into law the law that outlawed discrimination against the white minority. that belief in reconciliation that created a new south africa. that was a model for nations for people around the world. >> did he do it with kindness? >> he did it with love and with
kindness and wit and humor. when he came here, he so impressed american presidents, we know how close he was with bill clinton on his 94th birthday, clinton went in july of 2012 to celebrate that 94th birthday with him. he was too ill in june of this past year to be visited by president obama and his family. they very much wanted to, but he was such an inspiration for a young barack obama as the colleague student and a community leader and a law student and we saw how important it was to bring his girls to show them by example the tiny space in which this great man lived. the empowering morals of the great leader and gandhi and abraham lincoln.
it was so something so profoundly large in his spirit and the way he addressed even those of us who were younger reporters. the foreign press core always with respect and grace. >> we are moments away from president obama going to give some words to the world here from the white house on the passing of nelson mandela. again, this man must have admired america and the struggle in our country. did he want to use that as a model for freedom in south africa? how close was he to the american dream? >> very much so. he liked to come here and he was close to a number of american presidents. i think he absorbed and modelled -- excuse me, my voice is choked up, but he absorbed freedom movements from around the world and made them applicable to south africa. he saw in bosnia, they had other
ethnic and religious wars that followed. that model was very important to what happened in north africa. others followed his lead. it's long been his hope that they would come to that kind of accord. he was very close to saudi leaders. they helped him and his foundation and he lot of one son to aids-related symptoms and became very active at the foundation in raising money to combat aids throughout the world and africa and his country. just think of the economic power house that south africa became that became transformed. none of that would have happened had he not reached out to the white minority and proved that there could be investment and could be a successful model for the rest of the world. despite the loving history of
south africa and all that he experienced. we think of it in this context, you can think of it as christ-like, the model of a loving person and fining humanity in all human beings. >> loving his oppressor. you are watching msnbc and we are covering the death of nelson mandela, former south african president who has died at the age of 95. we are waiting for a statement from the white house. president obama to address the world here in a moment. he lived a long and inspirational life. reverend sharpton talked about tenacity and never giving up. this man had a soul and a model that any human being would admire. >> you would have to say he redefines tenacity. when you look at the president,
27 years in jail and you must remember he never thought he would get out again. his life would have been to die in jail. yet he never gave up. imagine sitting there day after day. isolated and standing up for the liberation of your country. never knowing that in 23 or 24 years, they are going to start negotiating this transition. imagine how tenacious that is. having the strength to love those who hated you and despited you. to worry about the transition that you would be doubted by followers. talking about nerves and having a backbone of steel. no one demonstrated that in history like nelson mandela. >> we are getting the two-minute warning that president obama will speak in a moment here.
watching this unfold and remembering this man's life is going to be very impactful on a lot of americans. a lot of people in this world. how do we view him and how will history judge this man? >> as a person of great transformation globally. his fighting for economic justice and against poverty and i'm glad andrea brought up his work on the aids issue. it was not enough to transform a country that needed transforming, but he has been a powerful example to american civil rights leaders and woke up a lot of people to the power. the power of the movement. his work is not done. they make a wonderful point. his work is not done.
nobody could have predicted this progress and transformation. even 25 years ago. >> is he the mod em? >> no question he's the model. i think he's the star and he's all of that. i don't know if we will see another nelson mandela. >> a very unique man. the circumstances he had and how he handled them. i think that god rewarded him with a long to be able to see some of the fruits of his labor coming into being, but we should not under estimate at all how what he did was. >> we don't often get to see our leaders turn 95. a lot of people do not get to 95, but we lot of a lot of global figures to violence and for him to emerge from prison and have a long and be a touch stone. >> and live for decades in the shadow of death.
here's a man who was on the run and was exiled. then to survive all of that, that was spectacular, but to be the president of the nation that imprisoned him and to share getting the nobel prize. this is the kind of thing that is mythical. it could not be overemphasized with significance and the hope it gave people all over the world. >> nelson mandela, former south african president has passed away at the age of 95. we go live to the white house from president obama. >> we have a statement from the dock saying i have fought against white domination and i have fought against black domination. i cherished the ideal of a
democratic and free society in which all persons live in harmony and with equal opportunities. it was an ideal i hoped to live for and to achieve. it is an ideal for which i am prepared to die. nelson mandela lived for that ideal and he made it real. he achieved more than could be expected of any man. today he has gone home and we lot of one of the most influential and courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth. he no longer belongs to us. he belongs to the ages. through dignity and unbenning will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, he transformed south africa and moved all of us.
his journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better. the commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all of humanity should aspire to whether in the lives of nations or our personal lives. the fact that he did it all with grace and good humor and the ability to acknowledge his own imperfects make the man that much more remarkable. as he once said, i'm not a saint unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying. i'm one of millions who drew inspiration from nelson mandela's life. my first political action, the first thing i ever did that involved an issue or policy or
politics was a protest against apartheid. i would study his words and writings and the day he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they're guided by hopes and not by fears. like so many around the globe, i cannot imagine my own life i cannot imagine the example that nelson mandela set. so long as i live, i will do what i can to learn from him. to michelle and his family, michelle and i extend our deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this extraordinary man with us. his life meant long days away from those who loved him most. i only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family. for the people of south africa,
we draw strength from the example of are you newall and reconciliation and resilience that you made real. a free south africa at peace with itself. that's an example to the world and that is my deepest legacy to the nation that he loved. we will not likely see the likes of nelson mandela again. as best we can, for the example he set. to make decisions not by hate, but by love. never discount the difference that one person can make. 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 ark of the
moral universe towards justice. my god bless his memory and keep him in peace. >> president obama live at the white house. nelson mandela passing away at the age of 95. clearly the president affected by the loss of a great man. he drew inspiration from mandela, a man of courage and compassion belongs to the ages. rev represent sharpton, your thoughts. >> i think the president made a very effective statement. he hit it on the head when he talked about the first political activity he ever engaged in was the fight against apartheid around nelson mandela and the fight for the freedom in south africa. i think many people, i grew up in the civil rights movement in the north, but the first foreign policy move that i can think of,
i was too young to fight in vietnam. it was around south africa. with the president's statement, that brought home to all of us where the fight was in our own lives which was why the death of nelson mandela even though he is 95, it's so personal to millions that you will see over the next days and weeks and months to come. we all were deeply touched by what he represented. we were touched personally. this just wasn't something going on over there. we all were involved. >> we can sense the profound effect that nelson mandela had on president obama just watching him speak a few moments ago, saying he was a man guided by hopes and not fears. we can hear a lot of when barack obama, the president of the united states, that was nelson mandela. >> i think this president has tried against odds to model
reconciliation. he turned the other cheek too many times for some of our progressive allies. you do see in his somberness and sadness there, the sense that he drew a lot of courage and lessons from nelson mandela. a lot of us coming of age after the civil rights movement and after the anti-water movement, that's what you did when you were on the left. it was successful and we were part of a global movement. there were a lot of setbacks and being there in the anxiety of reagan, it was not always clear what to do. you do small things when you can. >> let's go back to andrea mitchell. clearly moved by the impact and
certainly heart felt by the impact. the impact he had on the world. i thought it was clear to the president. >> this was a moment for this president. there may not be an african-american president in 2008 if there was not the model of leadership across racial and ethnic binds of nelson mandela on the world stage for so many years. the fact that he reached out to the cleric and negotiated the transition in south africa that became a model for the years. he was so important that for many people, the civil rights movement here in the united states with the first political axtivity for people of barack obama's generation with equal justice. it was the anti-apartheid movement.
that became the first real success and heroic exit from the jail on february 11th, 1990 and to think by 1994, he was elected in the first democratic election and that was the model that should be followed everywhere. >> andrea, just yesterday the president talked about income inequality and upward mobility as the center for american progress. based on what we know, there was a lot of nelson mandela in 245 message yesterday. >> he had drawn upon that lesson that was clearly that speech and other speeches. this was the prime influence on him. this was a political person. for them to understand it's a
physical space that nelson mandela lived in for 27 years. his vision was ruined by chopping rocks and he had other health issues because of the years in jail. he never seemed angry, resendful or bitter. he put it to good use and the morgan freeman movie, what he did with the all white rugby sport. so many aspects of south african life. his first impulse was to bring people and not apart. >> recall the moment he spoke in front of the joint session of the beginning. what impact did he have and what was that like? >> other foreign leaders, great leaders come and speak to congress. i don't think i have ever seen a rush to be there and be in the moment as nelson mandela arrived here. the fact that he was in
washington and in the halls of congress and presidents of both parties eventually understood he was not only a hero, but much closer to bill clinton and hillary clinton and barack obama than predecessors, but he reached across party lines and in the fact that george w. bush might not have done as much as he did and big events in contributions with his administration. not for the leadership to the foundation. bill clinton, ideologically, the deep discussions, do they see the parallel. >> they were political soul
mates. bill clinton so identified with him and what he accomplished. he was a hero for people of clinton's age and my age and hillary clinton as much as white people as well. people of all color. he represented the good that could come out of struggles. >> let's go to the grio. joy, how impactful will nelson mandela be in american life moving forward? >> you know, ed, i think truly is one of the greatest citizens. stretching back to the 60s and 70s and into the 80s, the civil rights movement, the vietnam war and the antiwar movement and mandela movement on campuses and american kid who is had never been to the continent of africa, but identified with the suffering of 85% of that population who had no rights.
>> my dad used to go to africa on business. he could go into the country on business and had more rights than 85% of the people he came in contact with. they had literally no rights. the extraordinary brutality where 15% of the population utterly suppressed 85% of the population. to work in the mines and the homes of white citizens. the brutality of that. when you measure that as they get the grace and the graciousness of someone thrown into prison simply for asking for his people to have just the basic dignity. the right to vote and walk free and having to show a pass
everywhere they went. it's incredible that he came out of that situation so dignified and so gracious towards the people who oppressed him. >> how could you not be bitter after 27 years in prison? this is the remarkable feat of this man's character, i think. he was so focused on the big picture of what he needed to accomplish with his and that country. >> absolutely. you think about other countries in africa like zimbabwe with the transition that was not peaceful in much of africa. a lot of that struggle was violent including when nelson mandela was ahead of congress and taking place in the cold war. the reagan administration considered them marxist and terrorists and they were insilt rated with communism. they didn't have universal support. that struggle to get south africa booted out of the olympics when tommy smith and
john k john carlos. they were also protesting south africa and rhodesia being in the olympics. this deeply touched africans in the olympics. every american with a basic sense of decency. >> we are covering the passing of nelson mandela who passed away late this afternoon at the age of 95. just moments ago, president obama spoke about the impact that mandela had on the president's life. >> i cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that nelson mandela set. so long as i live, i will do what i can to learn from him. >> joan walsh, you get the feeling watching the president right there how profoundly affected he was by this man's life. >> you do. he lot of a great example. he is still a great example and we will also have him in that sense.
thinking about harry belafonte who was somebody that nelson mandela reached out to and was his guide and greeter when he came to this country. what a symbol that was the way that nelson mandela himself wanted to acknowledge his relationship with the american civil rights movement. he was conscious of his legacy to people, but also the people around the globe who were his brothers and sisters and contributed to that struggle. so many civil rights leaders came to understand the role of racism globally. took part in the struggle to the best of south africa and to end apartheid. we are not as white americans used to looking to an african nationful we are exceptional. to any other nation as an example, but south africa has done a lot of things right.
it is an example for the globe for how to move forward towards a multiracial democracy and do it with a lot of passion. he was a revolutionary. i don't want to sugar coat that. he believed in a real transformation and it was done peacefully. beautifully. >> if you are still with us, charlene, i would like to get your reaction to president obama's statement a moment ago. >> i thought it was pretty much what i expected. i read about and knew about the role and the impact that mandela had on the young barack obama when he was a student. he was roently in south africa and unable to see former president mandela because he was so ill, but i thought what i
expected him to say. he was a young man in his formative years and very much affected by nelson mandela and i was pleased to hear the tribute he paid and i'm hoping that the world will feel in much the same way even it they didn't have the experience that president obama of and would not be able to articulate it. there lessons that we mead to continue to learn from nelson mandela and maybe that passing will bring the lessons that so many of your guests have said today. >> guided by hopes and not fear is how the president describes nelson mandela and said he drew tremendous inspiration from mandela. reaction to his death is coming in from world leaders. david cameron and prime minister
ofbritain, a great light has gone out. jimmy carter said passion and freedom and justice created new hope for generations of oppressed people worldwide. former president george h.w. bush said he was a man of tremendous moral courage who changed the course of history in his country. clearly this man had a global impact and did it with kindness and compassion and courage. president obama saying that he belongs to the ages. dr. james peter with us tonight from lehigh university, good to have you with us. your thoughts on the passing of nelson mandela. what impact can he have on black youth in this country? >> it's overwhelming to think about his passing and his life. i hope the conversation will be
about the cell brigz of his and what he meant. what his legacy means to young people is really, really important. you have to understand that very early on, people asked how could he do 27 years? how can he forgive his oppre oppressors and be consensus oriented? very early on in his career he understood and was prepared to lay down his for his principals. i think that kind of conviction is what carried him through all of his power. we have all been talking about it. for young people, pay attention to his ideology and his doctrines. see the movie, mandela, long walk to freedom. i did a talk for the lehigh university and the packers society and a powerful film. what you can learn from the film from his memoire and his life, he invested in revolution and also invested in consensus and
inclusion. part of the love that underwrites what he did throughout his life has to do with him being inclusive. what young people can do is it's less about compromise and we know that is important and more about consensus and a love ethic that allows you to focus inclusivity like including people as opposed to excluding them. he had the principals that allowed him to be guided through everything. powerful, powerful moments for us in world history. >> i think nelson mandela will have a tremendous impact on minorities in this country in the struggle. we see it in this country right now. when it comes to voting rights. the availability to the polls,
the number of machines out there. nelson mandela would have been in the forefront fighting for equality and access as much as anyone else. he has met nelson mandela. good to have you with us. what can you take from the visit you had from this world leader who changed his country and the world. >> as everybody indicated, a man of extraordinary humility. right after he got out of prison, i traveled to london with the reverend jesse jack to meet with mr. mandela and mrs. mandela in the flat in london. it was a small apartment. we met and it was extraordinary. i was in the room with living history. i was in the presence of greatness. this man's humility about the combination, there is no question that nelson mandela was
a man who embodied what martin luther king jr. talked about in referring to the spirit of the times. here was a man who was out of a sense of directioning history and those around him. a man who didn't presume to be the mouth piece for god. nevertheless spoke for millions of people not only in south africa, but around the world. the courage it took to for give south africa into its future. his love ethic that they spoke about was the predicate for the expansion of opportunity for africans who were black to join with africans who were white and others to forge the future of that nation. what's interesting as many criticize mr. obama here, president obama who was encouraged by him. i was at the white house when the film was screened. i had the opportunity to see barack obama introduce a film about nelson mandela was a bit
of living history himself. there were many criticisms about nelson mandela that is comp mying too much. he is giving up too much ter towy. it's against the future of south africa building census with the white people. what he understood is there would never be a future dependent on bitterness and hatred where south africans who are black. that doesn't mean you don't remember and you get involved with amnesia. you put aside the viciousness of the past in order to embrace the greatness of the future. when i shook his hand and mrs. mandela's hand, they were embodiments of the love ethic and they lived in the flesh. >> how is he going to be remembered by the white community in south africa,
doctor dyson? a man who changed society. >> look. of course some were in races who will will see him as the token of the loss of their power, but better informed and well regarded white south africans will understand that this man saved them. martin luther king jr. used to always say, look, justice in america will not only redeem and save black people, it will save america. mr. mandela, nelson mandela, president mandela, revolutionary mandela saved the future of south africa the moment he ascended to the heights of his own presidency and he embraced white south africans because he understood that the economy of south africa would not do well without the intentions of those white south africans being brought into the larger circle of south african economic and political privilege. so he understood that. but at the same time what he understood is that justice had to be done and that black people who had been long denied must
now be recognized as human beings. so he didn't dismiss the humanity of white people, he embraced it by insisting that the humanity of black africans could be joined with the humanity of white africans and others. so they will remember him if they are righteous as a man who indeed saved their nation. >> all right. dr. eric dyson, please stay with us. joining me now someone who was outside the home in johannesburg, south africa. if you could tell us the scene outside the mandela home and the reaction of those who are outside the home tonight. good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you. close to 1:00 in the morning, actually. in the last hour or so, we've seen a string of relatives of nelson mandela, members of his family who have been streaming in, police escorts as well. and around us, this huge crowd
building. dozens of well wishers singing songs from the apartheid. this multicultural, multicolored society. what's fascinating around here is how young this crowd is. i would estimate that at least 2/3 of the 100 or so people here are under the age of 25. they have no memory of apartheid. they have no memory of mandela being in prison. they have no memory of the years his face could not be published and he was hardly spoken about in the official media here. it's a fascinating reflection on his legacy. and of course people have been expecting this moment. he went into hospital six months ago. he's been incredibly ill for several years. this moment was predictable for a 95-year-old man, but it was still painful nonetheless. and people here close to 1:00 in
the morning still digesting this news. the most sorrowful news in the history of modern south africa ever since the birth of democracy in 1994 that nelson mandela is dead at age 95 years old. >> with us from johannesburg, south africa, tonight outside the home of the deceased former south african president nelson mandela. passing away today at the age of 95. joy reid still with us tonight and also joan walsh. interesting, joan, how he was mentioning the demographics of the age of the people out there. obviously this man had a huge impact for the ages as president obama said tonight. a man who belongs to the ages. and the songs that were relevant at the era of his struggle being played outside his home. i think that's very touching. >> what a powerful symbol that young people would show up. so many times you have political
events where the crowd is older and it's more of a looking backwards kind of thing. but to know that so many young people know the meaning of this man, gives me hope. it's not something i would have predicted. and i'm really inspired by it. >> joy reid, what does that signal to you? what do you make of the people outside of nelson mandela's home, the impact the has left on their lives playing songs of yesteryear era that represented that of the struggle. >> absolutely. i think nelson mandela who started out as a figure of great fear for white south africans ended up being the most unifying figure in the country who allowed south africa to be a single country where black and white could feel a part of it. there was even sort of a back and forth over what would they do with the flag, what would be the national anthem, what would be the official language. there were so many things tearing south africa apart throughout the history of that
country. the largest of which was the raw oppression of the vast majority of people there. but nelson mandela really was a true unifying figure. we have a white south african who's written a piece for us who wrote in the end white south africans embraced nelson mandela greatly because he offered back a path. south africa became a pariah nation because of apartheid. >> joy, talk more about your father and what impact nelson mandela had on your dad. >> i mean, my father didn't live with us. my mother and he met in the united states, but he lived in africa my entire life. he lives in the congo. but when we would talk to him, it was always on the phone. he would tell us some of the things he was doing. one of the things was doing work in south africa, he's in the
mining industry. we thought it was extraordinary when i was a kid. this was in the 1980s where black south africans had no rights. but because he wasn't one of their blacks, he had the ability to do more things there. just the orientation of black africans toward their country's exit from colonialism is a really big issue for black africans. and it's something that people really wrestle with. and the notion of south africa as a country as rather than shaking off the bonds of colonialism really had had had the white minority pressed down on the 85% majority of the country. and keep them suppressed through sheer naked force and brutality. and it was an issue that was a sticking point outside of south africa obviously around the world. so we grew up with this orientation of south africa being personal on us and really talking about it even with my dad as kids and understanding this was a freedom struggle.
it was a revolutionary struggle. and nelson mandela as other people have said was seen as almost too accommodating when he came out. but he did allow that country to reconcile. there was no other person that could have brought it together the way he did. >> the news coming just over an hour ago that nelson mandela has died at the age of 95. and just within the last half hour, president obama came out and talked about this world leader, this transformer, this human being, what he meant to america, what he meant to the world, what he meant to south africa, the impact he had and his legacy. >> we've lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth. he no longer belongs to us. he belongs to the ages. >> guided by the hopes, not fears is also how the president described nelson mandela.
said he drew inspiration from mandela. had a profound effect on his life. and i think you could see that in the statement that the president was giving tonight. nelson mandela passing away at the age of 95. i was also impressed by the comment of charlene hunter who told us we knew this was coming, but she still was shedding a tear tonight. the passing of someone of this tremendous world impact certainly is going to have a profound effect on many people. but she being close to the family even when it happens when you know it's going to happen, it has that effect on you. a friend of bill clinton, a friend of hillary clinton, a friend of former presidents. a man who spoke with tremendous heart and passion to the united states congress was friends to numerous presidents is going to be remembered as a man who really changed the world. a man who undoubtedly never gave up the struggle for freedom, the struggle for civil rights,
keeping his eye on the big picture. never putting himself before anything else. it was the struggle. it was a story of success. nelson mandela, a revolutionary throughout his life, a man who never gave up. spent 27 years behind bars, came back. february 2nd, 1990, amidst the escalating pressure, lifted the ban on the anc and released mandela from president -- from prison. and mandela was awarded the nobel peace prize in december of 1993 and following in 1994, april of that year in the south africa first truly democratic election where all races were allowed to participate, nelson mandela was overwhelmingly elected to the presidency of south africa. he leaves us this day at the age of 95. reverend al sharpton picks up
our continuing coverage on the passing of nelson mandela. reverend? >> thank you, ed. and tonight, grief in south africa and america and around the world. for nelson mandela. one of the towering figures of this century and the last one. an inspiration for billions of people across the globe has passed away at the age of 95. tributes are pouring in from across the globe for this freedom fighter. this man of peace who helped free south africa from apartheid and inspired citizens of all nations. president obama spoke just moments ago. >> he achieved more than could be expected of any man. and today he's gone home. we've lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good han