tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC December 6, 2013 12:00am-1:01am PST
>> my very first political action, the first thing i ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics was a protest against apartheid. i would study his words and his writings. the day he was released from prison. he gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they're guided for their hopes and not by fierce. >> mandela was born 1918 in eastern cape pro-vince, south africa. one of 13 children. he would go on to become a lawyer after a rare education in
a white supremacist nation that was explicitly ordered around the oppression and degradation of the black majority of its people. mandela co-founded the youth league of the african national progress dedicated to equal rights and overthrowing the system of apartheid, the racial segregation upon which the republic of south africa had been founded. for this activity, the government armed with a vast secret police branded mandela an enemy of the state. mandela was forced into hiding. in a stunning 1961 broadcast, his first televised interview, the 42-year-old activist spoke with itn's brian woodlake. >> i asked him what it was that the africans really wanted. >> the africans require, want the franchise on the basis of one man, one vote.
>> do you see africans being able to develop in this country without the europeans being pushed out? >> we have made it very clear in our policy that south africa is a country of many races. that there's room for all the races in this country. >> mandela emerged from hiding and would be tried for treason. mandela was sent to robin island prison where he spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. during those 27 years, the african national congress increased the pressure on the apartheid regime, and in 1990, after 27 years in a cell, nelson mandela was released. four years later, voters of south africa, black and white, would go to the polls in if first democratic election in that country, and elect mandela
their president with 62% of the vote. mandela set about what to do what seemed to be an impossible task, stitching together these two people, one oppressed, degraded for years, the other a minority, fearing they would be completely disempowered. in his inaugural speech, mandela stressed it would not be that way. >> and i enter a covenant to build a society in which all south africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall without any fear in their hearts. a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world. >> mandela would transfer power after a five-year term and live to become the founder of a new nation, the living embodiment of its highest aspirations.
joining me now is rohid. i cannot imagine the mood in south africa at this moment. >> it's a strange mood and it's very early in the morning here. so it's difficult to gauge the mood across the country. but what i can say outside the home of nelson mandela in the suburbs of johannesburg is this huge crowd has been building of 300, 400 people, mainly young people, so-called born frees. that is the generation of people who were born after the birth of democracy. they have been here singing songs from this anti-apartheid struggle and the crowd who's been growing and growing and not a single one of them i've seen crying. they've all been cheering and celebrating, respecting his
life, not really mourning, not too surprising because this news was not unexpected. nelson mandela was 95 years old. he has been suffering from a very serious illness for the last six months, particularly badly. and so this was a predictable piece of news, but painful nonetheless, so painful for south africans who call nelson mandela the father of their nation, the father of democracy. the man who was in 27 years in prison, much of it spent in solitary confinement. helped to end the years of racist rule by the apartheid regime in south africa. and for that, there are so many millions of south africans who owe him so much. >> it's profoundly moving to see the generation that you were referring to born free outside of the home of mandela. it's so striking.
there is so few examples of the kind of liberation in the last 20 years. there's almost nothing that compares to it in terms of the change brought about in the fates and futures and lives of every one of these people by mandela and his co-strugglers in this great struggle. >> reporter: that's right. there is no one in the world like nelson mandela and there is no country in the world like south africa. no nation that went to the negotiating table and managed to talk its way out of its most serious most immediate problems in those early years of democracy, when everyone here thought this country would go up in flames. i sat down with nelson mandela's close friend, archbishop desmond tutu recently, the religious leader during the apartheid struggle. he said to me, we all thought
this country would go up in smoke. and he said it would have had it not been for the work of nelson mandela. now, there were other people, and he was all keen to mention those other people. he said himself, i'm not a same but a sinner who keeps on trying. it's a sign of his character that he was willing to acknowledge those other people who contributed to the anti-apartheid struggle. but he was the icon of that struggle. he did more, certainly visibly more than anyone else did. and the cry "free nelson mandela" during the final years of apartheid, became the battle cry of this struggle to end apartheid and to bring about freedom and democracy in this country. >> thank you very much for joining us tonight. joining me now is reverend al sharpton, host of "politics
nation." and congresswoman barbara lee, democrat from california. she was an election observer in south africa and worked on legislative effort that removed mandela from the terrorist watch list. rev, one of the greatest figures of our time. >> probably one of the greatest figures of all-time. you cannot take lightly that the anc and nelson mandela were considered terrorists by much of the western world, including the right wing here. and for mandela to emerge as a prisoner negotiating privately, at great risk, even at the great risk of some that were supporters of his, who didn't know about the negotiations until later. for him to take that move of reconciliation and lead that country into an election, i was an election observer. i remember barbara lee.
i have a picture of her and danny glover and all of us at the carlton hotel. it was an amazing time to see people lined up the first time they could vote. for miles and miles, for three days. and they didn't vote on individuals, they voted on parties. but to go from terrorist to being the kind of celebrated statesman. people shouldn't sweep past that. he suffered. many of his colleagues suffered. decades in jail, ostracized. never thought they would see daylight again as free people. but they took that and transformed their country. i was with him when he went to the u.n. and asked for the removal of sanctions. to be around this man who had such gravitas and humility at the same time was an awesome experience. >> congresswoman, you were there to see that first democrat
election in south africa. >> i was there, and let me say, chris, my heart is very heavy tonight. the people of south africa, the people of the word, we've lost a great warrior, a great leader. i also have to just say that the lessons we have learned from president mandela are so, so great. and being there as therein election on receiver was one of the moments i'll always remember. these elections were always very difficult when i landed the first task we had was to monitor the -- and reverend al, you may remember this, the cleanup of a bomb blast, that blasted out in front of the anc headquarters. i think 30 people died. so these elections, nelson mandela did not take lightly. the people of south africa did not take lightly. it was a true exercise of
democracy. we learned a lot from those elections. and president mandela is still larger than life. his serenity, his tough spirit, he reminded me of a freedom fighter who won and who once you won, he was on the right side of history. then in fact this sense of peace and reconciliation, this sense of moving forward to develop and lead a multiracial society was the natural next step for him, if only we could learn that as a people here in our own country. >> there's so many different chapters to this man's life. he had so many incarnations as a young lawyer, as a militant briefly, when the anc decided to take up arms. as a nonviolent activist, as a prisoner, then as a head of state, an elder statesman. the bomb blast that the congresswoman talked about, the
threat of violence shot through everything in apartheid south africa. >> it constantly hung over and it never stopped. i remember when we landed and the congresswoman is correct and dealing with the bomb, this is right before the election. people act as though there was this great epiphany. there wasn't. there was resistance from the africans all the way through. there were others on the other side that didn't believe in the reconciliation. it was only the serenity and the level headed leadership of nelson mandela and others that was able to bring balance and bring us to a very dangerous period globally because it was a global movement. >> there are very rare figures in history who are graced with a spiritual genius. mandela, ghandi and king are the three that come to mind, that
are able it seems to, almost as moses parted the waters, through their leadership, through their grace, to bring nonviolence out of the storm clouds of violence and hate and rage. >> and yet they're the victims of violence, hate and rage. so the lessons that we learned from them should be very important as our daily lives as we struggle for peace and justice. spending 27 years in prison, unbelievable. how many people could come out of prison not bitter orangery. how many of us could make peace with our enemies? how many of us could lead a country out of an era of apartheid and lead with
humility. president obama, i remember the last time he came here, he came here to thank people for their support in the solidarity movement. he just came to say thank you. what a sense of humility and an awesome spirit this man had. and his spirit is going to live forever. >> i want to talk about the particularities of this man's life and some of the different chapters of it. most specifically next, i want to talk about the nature of the apartheid regime, which is so removed from us, we know it was a racist regime. but it was a truly evil and outlaw regime. and what his life in prison and in hiding looked like and how the end of that regime was brought about. so stick around. we're going to talk about that. if you're seeing spots before your eyes...
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he is a man that shows what sacrifice, discipline and forgiveness can do. many men in the 20th and 21st century will think, few are great. nelson mandela became one of the greatest. i went to see the man who organized this stayaway, a 42-year-old african lawyer, nelson mandela, the most dynamic leader in south africa today. the police were hunting for him at the time, but african nationalists had arranged for me to meet him at his hideout. he is still underground. this is mandela's first television interview. now, if the government doesn't give you the kind of concessions you want some time soon, is there any likelihood of violence? >> there are many people who feel that it is useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and nonviolence against the government who is on this savage task against an
unarmed and defenseless people. and i think the time has come for us to consider, in the light of our experiences at this day at home. the methods which we have applied so far. >> that was nelson mandela's first television interview, may 21st, 1961. the interview was conducted just after mandela went underground to avoid being arrested. for organizing a strike of south africa's black workers. we're back with al sharpton and barbara lee. joining us now, danny shechter. former executive producer of south africa now. he's the author of "madiba: a to z." you were actively involved in the struggle against apartheid. can you talk a little bit about the nature of the apartheid government. i think it seems remote. people don't quite realize what a comprehensively awful regime this was. >> see, a lot of americans compared south africa to the u.s. and thought in terms -- >> jim crow. >> the civil rights movement, where people's rights were being
violated. in south africa, there was no constitution and there were no rights. so apartheid was really a labor system, a way of controlling black workers to the benefit of the people who owned the mines and the resources of that country. and so the whole system regulated people's lives, almost in every dimension, where they could live, where they could work, and they couldn't violate those rules. they couldn't be in the city after dark. they couldn't, you know, work in certain areas. it was a tightly regulated, really a fascist, to use a word that we don't use much anymore. it's that kind of a white nationalist regime. >> i mean, there were -- and we should just say, there were secret police. during nelson mandela's imprisonment, it was illegal to have a picture of him, right? these are -- >> it's all true, chris. >> it couldn't put it in a newspaper. they couldn't put his face or name in a newspaper. >> a lot of us forget that the united states government and many western governments
supported white south africa. and in fact, mandela never got off the terrorist list until 2008. and he was elected in 2004, we -- >> 1994. >> 1994, rather! so this is a situation where the united states was on the wrong side, for many, many years. and so what they were up against was a whole world of privilege, that didn't want change, because people made so much money under apartheid. it was very, very profitable. and the exploitation of people there led to a system and a status quo that wouldn't end by itself, unless it was pushed, and the people of the world pushed it. >> we had this -- congresswoman, you were very active in getting mandela removed from that list. could you talk about the geopolitics -- now it seems just unthinkable that the u.s. government would side with the apartheid regime. we know there's reporting that indicates the cia actually
helped the south african police nab mandela the first time he was captured. how did this come about that the u.s. government saw itself on the side of this regime? >> i have to tell you, it almost seems unthinkable, but it's a fact that that's what took place. and i remember many, many days where those of us and reverend al, you may remember this, involved in the struggle against apartheid, were not allowed because we knew it was illegal to meet with members of the anc. we had to go to the united nations, or some of us -- >> just so that people were clear, it was illegal under u.s. law to meet with -- >> under u.s. law, to meet with members of the african national congress. so i had to go many times to switzerland, just to meet with anc leaders and supporters to help develop the solidarity movement, which we were mounting here in our own country. when i worked for congressman dellums, i have to say, ron dellums and bill gray, they led
the fight for many, many years for sanctions to put this country on the right side of history. i remember ron introduced the sanctions bill, it must have been 12 times. and he would not waver. he kept going and kept going. finally, when president reagan vetoed it, the congress overrode that veto and put the united states on the right side of history. but still, the anc and president mandela were considered terrorists. and it wasn't until i was in south africa a few years ago that i learned of this and came back and then we started our efforts with homeland security and with the state department to get him removed from the terrorist list. and that was for his 90th birthday. >> this is a really important moment, this reagan -- the apartheid, the sanctions bill. this movement starts to grow as nelson mandela in prison becomes the face of this movement. ronald reagan actually vetoes a bill passed by both houses of congress to impose sanctions on south africa and members of his own party vote against him to override the veto. the veto is actually overwritten. >> the veto is overwritten. and i think that -- you know,
over the next few days, we're going to hear a lot of people talking. it was the heroism of people like harry bellefonte and ron dellums and barbara lee. and then you hear that when it was not only popular, but you were suspect to fight on behalf of the anc, because they were considered terrorists. >> how did that turn around, danny? how did that public opinion move? >> i think change happens from the bottom up, as reverend al knows. it happens when people get involved in legitimate struggle for democratic change. it's not dictated to from above. i think president mandela would be, and i still call him president mandela, would be very uncomfortable with all those people who see him as a savior, who are trying to make him the lone star hero of the day, when, in fact, the people in south africa struggled and sacrificed for years, died, and were tortured -- >> millions of people whose names we don't know. who will not be on television.
>> and people around the world stood up with him. and that's the lesson here of solidarity, of the fact that people can make a difference, that change can happen, despite power being controlled in a few hands. >> i want to talk about this movement in more in depth in just a little bit. reverend al sharpton, thanks very much for joining on this evening. you can catch his show, "politics nation" at 6:00 p.m. eastern on weeknights on msnbc. we'll talk about the international solidarity movement and how it helped bring an end to apartheid on the night we mourn nelson mandela's passing. we'll be right back.
mandela became almost a cult figure. but in the black townships of south africa, mandela was not a distant pop icon. he was the spirit behind the street fighting. he was the living symbol for township people in a struggle against evil. and when they buried their dead, the coffins were draped in the colors of mandela's outlawed anc party. and for many, he was also a symbol of evil. >> he should have been killed and executed 20 years ago. >> that was nbc news reporting back in february of 1990, two days before mandela's release from prison after 27 years. we're back with congresswoman barbara lee and danny shechter, who's author of a new book on nelson mandela. so mandela becomes this symbolic figure while in prison, and then he begins negotiations in secret, while in prison, with the apartheid regime.
how does he end up getting out? why does he end up being released? what turned the corner? >> there were three things happening. first of all, international pressure. not just of activists, but of banks, who were refusing to rule over loans. >> so the currency is plummeting -- >> economic pressure on south africa, orchestrated in part by the movement for change. second, the sanctions that ron dellums and others fought for, for so many years, came to prevail. and obviously, south africa could see where this thing was heading. you know, i think the third thing, the persistence of the antiapartheid movement, not just politically, but culturally. the projects like sun city, the anti-apartheid anthem, free nelson mandela, the big concerts at wembley stadium. by the way, those concerts weren't even shown in the united states because of the american tv industry's refusal to honor and respect him.
so this was a struggle in our own country as well, to get the news out about south africa. >> the moment congresswoman, when mandela begins negotiations in secret, in prison, with the apartheid government to begin talking about the decriminalization of the african national congress, his ultimate release and ultimate move to democracy, it's an amazing thing to think about. this is a man who is jailed, who is dubbed an enemy of the state, who is having negotiations while being in prison, while being dubbed an enemy of the state, with the heads of state. >> but that -- chris? >> yes, please. >> but that shows us that we have to keep hope alive, first of all, and we have to look at president mandela's life and recognize that he was a freedom fighter. he sacrificed so much. he was in prison. he stood on principle. he was determined to end apartheid and he knew how to do it. and part of that were negotiations.
and he had to negotiate with the enemy. and i think we have forgotten about those lessons oftentimes, and we need to remember that. also, the people of south africa had many, many friends. had a solidarity movement supporting their efforts throughout the world. i remember, again, very vividly, going to switzerland. we worked in vienna, austria with the labor unions, faith community, artists, entertainers, grassroots organizations, reverend jesse jackson. but you know what? when we got to europe and when we started working with all of these organizations, we realized that our country was isolated. here you have the soviet union, you had, quote, enemies of the united states supporting president mandela, supporting the anc. and of course, that put all of the americans who were involved in this movement at risk of being red batd and -- red baited
and that's exactly what happened. >> during all those years mandela was in prison, the movement inside south africa, what does that look like? >> it was a movement made up of trade unionists, community activists, people from all walks of life, across class struggle, as they say, in south africa, professionals, students, and church people like bishop tutu. >> and was mandela communicating with them at this point? >> no, mandela, mandela was not really able to get all this information. despite all that, it was the anc in exile led by oliver tambo, whose name is forgotten, who really put the pressure. this is told in a new movie, and it's playing in new york and l.a. now. but on christmas day, it goes to 2,000 screens. >> i'm hoping that we -- >> in america. and i was fortunate to be in south africa and film the making and the meaning of this movie and this book. because the producers know that a movie can't tell the whole story.
we have waited too long for our people. we can no longer wait. now is the time to intensify this progress on all fronts. to elect our efforts now, which generations to come will not be able to forgive. >> that was nelson mandela's first speech after his release from prison in february 11th, 1990. mandela was a rare global figure, a man who went from revolutionary to statesman, from enemy of the state to head of state.
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glorious a human achievement. let freedom ring. god bless africa. >> that was nelson mandela's inaugural address as south african president on may 10th, 1994. joining me now on the phone is nbc news special correspondent, charlane hunter-gault. she interviewed mandela several times. and miss gault, i have to ask you tonight, the president of south africa inherited such an unbelievably complicated set of problems on day one, of trying to lead and build this new nation, how did mandela go about this new role? >> well, nelson mandela never stopped preparing for a nonracial south africa, the rainbow nation he talks about, even when he was in prison, toward the -- well, during his
time in prison, he prepared the young men who followed him to take leadership positions once they left the prison. somehow he had that optimism that they would, so he managed to insure that they learned about leadership. and then toward the end of the apartheid era, he launched himself, negotiations with the minority white regime known as the apartheid regime and at one point, they asked him, if he would foreswear violence, they would release him and he said, no, i'm not going to do that. so he stood to his principles, right until the very end and he single handedly negotiated with the white minority regime to end apartheid, while he was still a prisoner. >> when he does become
president, one of the most notable and much-imitated initiatives of that presidency is what was known as the truth and reconciliation committee. this was a way of trying to acknowledge and air out and reconcile the horrible, unspeakable crimes that had been committed without violence, vengeance, and recrimination. tell me about what those were like, how they worked. >> well, it was a wonderful idea, and it was a part of his idea of forgiveness and trying to get everybody on the same road to reconciliation, and so no matter what kind of heinous crime you've committed against my people, you simply acknowledge it, we can move on. but you know what happened? only a few people came forward. and that was one of the, i think
one of the almost tragedies. very few whites came forward and admitted the horrendous things that they had done to mandela's people. and yet, truth and reconciliation commission became a model for countries all over the world. however imperfect, it was a model. >> and it was a new kind of institution to try to deal with the sorts of nation building that he had to deal with. what was his legacy as president, if you had to sum it up? >> i'm sorry, could you repeat that? >> what was his legacy, as president, if you had to sum it up? >> i think his legacy is a lot like the legacy of martin luther king. that people should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. and that for those who really believed in a more perfect union, and although that's in the american constitution, but
not the south africans, but there are similar words in the constitution, that we have to strive towards freedom. >> nbc news special correspondent, the great charlayne hunter-gault, thank you for your time. joining me now, south africa's ambassador to the united states, ibrahim rasual. i can imagine the heartache that you are feeling and everyone in south africa is feeling on this night. >> i think heartache is an understatement. i think that we really, as a nation, despite having anticipated that mr. mandela must go some time, that we really remain shocked that it has actually come to pass. i think that it's a shock filled with anxiety about life after nelson mandela. and i believe that every south african, wherever they stood in the apartheid years and wherever they've stood for the last 20 years, are absolutely united in
their grief for nelson mandela's departure. and every south african are united, i hope, in the understanding that we need to emulate him. we need to live up to the values and the ideals that he had stood for and that we need to find our better selves in order for us to make us a success of south africa. >> is there love -- love for nelson mandela among white south africans as well? >> i think that there is enormous love. i don't think it started out that way. i think that when he was a prisoner, there was this fear of nelson mandela and the fact that after incarcerating him for 27 years, how angry must he be? how bitter will he be? how vengeful will he be? and in a very real way, he was able to surprise them. and slowly but surely, he began
to symbolize for them, their own humanity, the return of the old humanity, he set them free from their guilt, he set them free from their inhumanity. and i believe at the moment, when he dawned the jersey, when south africa won the 1995 rugby world cup, i think that was probably the moment of the fullest love for nelson mandela from white south africa. >> he had to preside over a tremendous transition in a country that was essentially founding itself anew. where is south africa today? what will it be without him there as this kind of life force for the new nation? >> i think that little deprivation in south africa will enormously high at the time of its transition. i think that they shall divide to a great and deep.
i think that the inequality, such as to today and the inequality is racially coded and color coded. and yet, the only reason why south africa is able, with great stability and a great belief in democracy and human rights, we are able to navigate this difficult waters of material deprivation, is because nelson man della has been able to teach us patience, to teach us to give the other the benefit of the doubt. and he has been able to reconcile us in a way that has given us the space to overcome those problems systemically as we go forward. and so i want to really say that that legacy of nelson mandela, the patience and the perseverance and not to descend into anarchy and into instability, i think, persists to this day. >> ebrahim rasool, thank you so
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what did you most want to see in the outside world, all those years that you were in prison? >> a host of things, i can't even count them. the very question of being outside and being able to do what you like. to see the changes that have taken place, south africa, you know, has changed considerably from the time i went to jail. and i wanted to see these changes. >> is there anything about prison that you will miss? >> not really.
not really. >> that was nelson mandela speaking to nbc's tom brokaw in february of 1990, not long after he walked out of prison, following 27 years behind bars. joining me now, don gips and maya wiley, founder and president for the center of inclusion. she helped to open south africa's criminal justice initiative. and maya, what kind -- there's this period of time between 1999 when nelson mandela does this remarkable thing, which is to hand over power peacefully. there's many examples that come to be heads of state and don't do that. what kind of figure is he in south africa for that period of life when he is essentially retired from politics and the state that has to encounter all the challenges it does? >> well, he was still an incredibly important figure and we should acknowledge that in addition to just being willing to hand over power and not become a president for life or a dictator, as we've seen,
unfortunately, in some other african countries, he actually started turning over the reins of leadership to thabo imbeki while he was still president. in other words, he understood that he needed to allow the next level of leadership to develop. because we're talking about folks who were incredible leaders, but nonetheless had not been allowed to govern. so he understood there had to be a process of governance. but nonetheless, he was an incredibly important moral center, and not just for the country, but also for the continent and for the world. one of the things he starts to do is essentially become the elder statesmen for tackling problems that exist on the continent, for taking on issues like hiv/aids, and for thinking about things like child and maternal health. >> and in fact, ambassador, he, at a time when aids and hiv are shrouded in a great deal of taboo comes forward and says that his son was stricken with the disease.
this is a huge resonance, both in south africa and on the continent. >> yes, and he has led the -- helped lead the fight that has transformed south africa's now taking a leadership role in fighting against hiv/aids. and i think it's one of the many examples, the powerful example he's given all of us. i actually wear this bangle every day that has his prison number on it. he was the 466th prisoner in 1964, to remind me to be a better person. and i hope we all use this moment to step up and in our own way, contribute and help build the legacy that he would want us to have, to build a better unity, to forgive, to help fulfill his last dream, which was to build a children's hospital in south africa. there's ways that all of us can contribute and help fulfill his vision for the world. >> maya, there's one lesson i
have been drawing as i've sort of immersed myself in reading about nelson mandela, which is that things do not happen quickly. there's the 27 years in prison, just take that. but even the levels of racial inequality on wealth and income and health and life expectancy, in south africa, under the anc, under this new democratically elected leadership, there's still huge disparity in that country. and i say still, you know, it's only -- it's less than 20 years, but things go slowly. and confronting the reality, that was part of what nelson ma statn. >> well, one of the things that nelson -- i think you're absolutely rht. one of the things that nelson mandela and the anc made a decision about is, remember, this transition to a democracy happened with access to the polls, not access to the purse. >> right. >> and it was access -- and i think part of the strategy certainly was get political control and then start to implement what nelson mandela called the edp, economic
reforms. >> it's been very hard to make that happen. >> well, what happened, one of the things we have to acknowledge is that the apartheid era debt that the anc inherited, was not forgiven. so essentially what started as a pretty broad welfare program to try to equalize society and create more access to opportunity, was undermined essentially by -- >> debt and austerity. >> quickly, ambassador, are you hopeful about south africa's future? >> yes, i am. i think south africa is struggling with some of the problems that we're struggling with around the world. they've come a long way, there's still a long way to go. and i hope we'll use this moment for all south africans and all people to make the world a better place. >> former u.s. ambassador to south africa, don gips, and maya wiley with the center from social inclusion, thank. that is "all in" for this evening. the rachel maddow show starts now. >> thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. this is the kind of pass that you had to carry.
it had your fingerprints on it and your photo. and who you worked for and where you lived. and where you were allowed to go and when you were allowed to go there and for how long and for what purpose. and for how long what purpose. starting in 1950 with 2 p population reng strags act, everyone had to register with the government by race. a racial review board, essentially, would give you a look, decide what race they would say that you were and they would give you a racial id card so you would know which laws applied to you and what you were allowed to do. but as of 1952, every black personal in the country over the age of 16 had to have not just a rashlg id card like everyone else, but also this passbook which any white person could demand to see at any time. and if you were found to be in a place that was not just reserved for black people, if your passbook did not