tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC December 5, 2013 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
this is "world news." tonight nelson mandela, his struggle and strength healed a nation and changed a world. >> i come here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant. >> from a tiny prison cell, he rallied millions against racism and injustice. his long walk to freedom a beacon of hope for generations. >> nothing will stop our date with destiny. >> tonight, the world mourns the passing of an icon.
and a good evening to all of you. we welcome you to a special edition of "world news," beginning the breaking news, a titan has died, nelson mandela, the man who taught the modern world you can transform anger into hope. he was 95 and his death wasn't a surprise but his life continues to astonish us in living the possibility of a better world. he spent 27 years in prison for his belief in freedom, equality and emerged with a message of generosity toward his 0 pressers. we have reaction from around the world tonight. first robin roberts who has traveled to south africa several times takes a look back at his extraordinary life and inconquerable spirit.
>> reporter: nelson mandela, a leader who inspired a nation to hope. >> both black and white will be able to walk together, a grateful nation at peace with itself and the world. >> reporter: and believe in a better future. his tribal name given at birth means troublemaker, but on the first day of school, his teacher gave him a new name. >> you must have a christian name. so i said, no, i don't have one. she says you are from today going to be nelson. >> reporter: he was a boxer who became a lawyer and a leading voice in the african national
congress, the anc. struggling to end the inequality of apartheid, white ruled south africa's policy of racial segregation. but in 1960 after police shot and killed 49 protestors, the anc which had always been nonviolent created a military wing under mandela's command. >> there are many people who feel that it's useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and nonviolence against the government. >> reporter: the regime determined to maintain white rule saw the inspiring young revolutionary as a threat. >> our struggle is truly national. it is a struggle for the right to live. >> reporter: mandela was imprisoned in 1962 and two years later sentenced to life in prison, accused of working to overthrow the government. in court, on trial for his life
he said this. >> i have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society. it is an ideal for which i hope to live and to see realized, but my lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which i am prepared to die. >> reporter: four miles off the coast of cape town south africa on robben island, he spent most of his years cut off from the world but not forgotten. >> to spend 27 years in the prime of your life is a tragedy and i regret in all those years that i have wasted in prison. >> mr. nelson mandela will be released from the prison. >> there is mr. nelson mandela, a free man taking his first steps into a new south africa. >> reporter: released at the age of 72, remained vigilant that his country and freedoms rested
in the hands of the people. >> i stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant. >> reporter: and for the people of south africa, mandela's release ushered in a new era of hope and the end of apartheid. >> today the majority of south africa, black and white, recognize that apartheid has no future. >> reporter: in 1994 south african's castheir ballot in the first democratic election. >> this morning applause for the first black voter in history. >> reporter: mandela became the country's president, the first elected by all its people. >> we are all south africans. we have had a good fight, but now this is a time to heal the old wounds and to build a new south africa. >> reporter: after ruling for
five years, nelson mandela passed the torch to the next generation and became an elder statesman to the world, a fighter, a visionary, the voice of his people and a moral compass for us all. >> you were there so many times, talked to his family members. >> several times, the first time ten years ago with my family. we actually went to robben island and stood in his cell and we couldn't imagine what it felt like. on one of my trips talking to his second wife winnie in their home and talking with such passion about the early years and the struggle against apartheid and saying even then he had a bold vision and when i spoke to grass sa and i asked
him what is your husband's legacy going to be and she said a visionary and the quality of his leadership. >> the quality of it. i remember his saying once that there is nothing more powerful than the phrase it is not right. >> and he wanted to right the wrongs and give each of us the feeling that we could do that, too. that's so powerful. >> that's right. in our lives, not just in the political world. >> right. >> thanks so much, robin. it's great that you are here with us tonight. we want to go to south africa right now where not long ago president zuma, the president of the country with a simple sentence broke the news to his countrymen. >> our nation has lost its greatest son. >> was a nation absolute a life with fearlessness and forgiveness, a life that changed history. abc's alex marquardt is right there as south african's in the
middle of the night are absorbing this news. alex? >> reporter: good evening, diane. this country, south africa, has been plunged into a time of great sadness over the news of the death of a man so many affectionately called madiba. his death no great surprise but such a shock to this beacon of hope, this pillar of freedom is no longer with us. there are huge numbers of south africans who have gathered outside his home. they're dancing and singing struggle song from the apartheid era, the national anthem interspersed with moments of silence. there have been conflicting reports in recent weeks over the health of mandela. as late as tonight one of his daughters said that he was fine. this announcement was made late tonight, just before midnight. now it's well after midnight. many south africans will wake up to this tremendously sad news
tomorrow when a period of national mourning will begin for what president zuma called south africa's greatest son. >> thank you so much, alex. it's not that his deaths is a surprise but that we look back at his life and we are stunned with the effect that it had on this world. the news of course touched so many people around the world, including here at home and president obama, who not long ago spoke about the profound effect mandela had on his own life. >> 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. >> and we want to show you a picture now. president obama then 19 years old, a college student, protesting apartheid on campus. he said that was the moment that mandela, quote, gave him a sense of what is possible in this world.
sending a jolt of electricity through his homeland but also this nation, america, founded on equality for all. abc's byron pitts now on what mandela meant to the united states. >> reporter: just four months after he was set free from prison in 1990, nelson mandela set foot in america for the very first time. an 8 city tour starting in new york. it was magical. it was as if malcolm and martin were still alive and the nets had won the world series all in new york all in one day. mandela spoke at yankee stadium. >> you now know who i am. i am a yankee! >> reporter: for many then as now it wasn't so much his or tear skills but the aur ra of his story that inspired. a story so familiar and inter twined with america, and still so very painful.
the anti-apartheid protest of the 80s cap vated a new generation on colleges and communities. amidst the demonstrations demanding dye vestment in south africa here was the on going violence there in townships. it took the story of one man to help america better understand the struggle of one nation. mandela reminded the world reconciliation was more powerful than revenge. forgiveness is a gift to be given. the boldness of his vision empowered america. >> i said didn't you hate those people once they let you go? he said briefly they did but when i was walking out of my compound i said to myself, they've had you 27 years. if you hate them when you go through that door, they will still have you.
>> reporter: and the famous. >> if you proceed through life with just a portion of nelson mandela's humility, you will be a huge success. >> reporter: the audacity of mandela's rise also inspired a young politician from illinois. senator obama visited his cell on robben island when his destiny was still a dream. it was the walk that proceeded it. during his visit to boston 23 years ago i met mr. mandela ever so briefly. there was time for one question. mr. mandela, i asked, what is the one thing in life you know for sure? with that elegant smile he answered, good and evil are always at war. good men must choose. with defiance and dignity in equal measure, nelson mandela chose and america loved him for
it. byron pitts, abc news, new york. and byron is here right now. what a wonderful story of your encounter with him. he always said that courage isn't the absence of fear but the ability to triumph over it. >> exactly right. mandela often said he was a student of gandhi. martin luther king, america's civil rights movement. i think it's fair to say that history will show the student became the teacher. america the world, his classroom. >> every individual life has a lesson. >> yes. >> thank you so much, byron. still ahead on this special edition of "world news," you're going to meet mandela's jailer, a country boy who became a lifelong friend. that's ahead. ♪
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♪ nelson mandela standing inside the cell that once held him prisoner and mandela walked out of prison with a lesson for living, saying to walk free is not merely to cast off change but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. he did something behind those prison walls that was a kind of dress rehearsal for what he would do later in the world. abc's david muir with the jailer who became his most unlikely friend. >> reporter: crystal brand peers out over the water to the former prison on robben island where he first reported for duty at 18.
>> they informed us we're going to meet the biggest criminals. >> reporter: nelson mandela was 60, already in prison for more than a decade, still forced to sleep on the floor. the young jailer's family was africa kauner. but when that young jailer met mandela, he met an elder who would treat the young man with respect and the jailer would slowly offer the same in return. he told of one of winnie mandela's visits and her requests. >> she said please can i show mandela from a distance. i said, no, no. >> reporter: no children allowed, not even mandela's precious new grandbaby. what winnie didn't know was while he waited in a holding area, that jailer secretly brought the baby to mandela. >> there were tears coming out of his eyes. >> nobody knew? >> nobody knew. >> reporter: the whole wheat bread they would bring from home and the secret code. >> i would show him this.
mandela immediately know i'm bugged. i was bugged a lot of times. >> you lied to keep your job and to keep your friendship with mandela? >> that's correct. >> reporter: during all of those isolating years on robben island the prison guard said there was one view of the country that nelson mandela loved. that was the very top of table mountain here in cape town behind me, that he would look to this view wondering if he was ever be free. but mandela was always preparing for that day. he asked the jailer to teach him afrikaa afrikaans. on the day mandela was released, his speech was delivered in afrikaans. mandela famously said, if you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. if you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. >> that's what he did and that's what he would strive for and he was loved for and would fight
for while he was in prison, to have people live in peace. >> reporter: the jailer who became a trusted friend now remembering nelson mandela. that most unlikely friend, the jailer standing on that hill with me in cape town telling me that he'll never forget that bond they formed. of course, diane, that secret code, that little reference to his ear that they were being bugged. his allegiance was to his loyal friend. >> he kept teaching over and over again, consider the possibilities that even your enemies can change and give them a chance to change. thank you, david. when we come back here, nelson mandela, his lasting imprint on the world. gorge stephanopoulos standing by. this is the quicksilver cash back card from capital one. it's not the "limit the cash i earn every month" card. it's not the "i only earn decent rewards at the gas station" card. it's the no-games, no-signing up,
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america" co anchor george stephanopoulos joins us. george, did he change the world? >> there is no question about it. he changed the world through power of example. he always said he wasn't a prophet. we saw that in robin's piece. of course he was but what made him special was he was a supremely idealistic prophet married to a politician. he had the flexibility of a politician but the vision of a prophet. >> we wielded everything in his power. >> especially after he left prison. he knew that every move he made would be watched and he was sending a signal to his people and the world. think about that man, here's the man who left prison to be elected president and then said like george washington i am walking away from power, such an important example for his people. >> he tried to teach reconciliation instead of war and? >> it ended up working but remember he also said that nonviolence is just a tactic. it's not a principle. he believed in it and he did it because he thought it would work
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♪ a good evening to you and welcome back to this special edition of "world news." tonight we are remembering nelson mandela, a man who changed this world. president obama saying just hours ago he no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages. at 95, his death not a surprise, but the lessons of his life still reverb rating around the globe, that long walk to freedom, brimming with humility, resilient, a determination to forgive.