lady to hold oh-oh-oh ♪ ♪ it's a southern summer that sun's shinin' down like daddy's silver dollar ♪ ♪ gotta hop on the old dirt road to the days of gold oh-oh-oh ♪ ♪ a little bit of you little bit of me what you wanna do what's it gonna be ♪ ♪ we can get wild we can live free or you can shake it for me baby like a tambourine ♪ ♪ a slice of watermelon and you spit the seed sweat on your back stickin' to the seat ♪ ♪ we can sneak off to beat the heat
i'll be buzzin on you honey like a bumble bee ♪ ♪ yeah it's a southern summer whiskey's in the air dogs on the burner ♪ ♪ beer's ice cold got ta pretty little lady to hold oh-oh-oh ♪ ♪ it's a southern summer that sun's shinin' down like daddy's silver dollar ♪ ♪ gotta hop on the old dirt road to the days of gold ♪ ♪ ♪ thought it was safe to go outside but i guess i was wrong ♪
♪ thought i could take a little ride just to see what was going on ♪ ♪ tonight on a special edition of "nightline." nelson mandela. freedom fighter, leader, a symbol of racial equality. the man who changed his country and the world has died at age 95. tonight, we're live on the ground in south africa. from his long walk to freedom -- >> tonight we have only one guest, nelson mandela. >> -- "nightline" was there. >> to spend so many years at the prime of your life is a tragedy. >> how a young boxer fought his way through nearly 30 years in prison to become his country's first democratic elected president. >> he no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages.
>> don't call me. i'll call you. >> to his magnetic sense of humor, mandela was loved by everyone. from world leaders to celebrities. when he visited the u.s., areeth that franklin sang to him. tonight she's with us sharing her special memories only on "nightline." >> this special edition of "nightline," nelson mandela, a man who changed the
[s[man] no one told her,right?a. [son]hi! [mom screams] this is a special edition of "nightline." nelson mandela, a man who changed the world. >> good evening and thanks for joining us. i'm dan abrahams. nelson mandela's face is one of the most recognizable in the world. and tonight in south africa this symbol of racial equality died at the age of 95. from boxer to advocate, prisoner
to peace prize winner, it seemed mandela was always fighting for a cause greater than himself. as reactions pour in from around the globe it's clear that his legacy as a champion of human rights, equality and freedom will be forever etched in our minds and in history. from world leaders like president obama. >> like so many around the globe, i cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that nelson mandela set. and so long as i live, i will do what i can to learn from him. >> to celebrities and mostly ordinary citizens of the world, an outpouring of love and mourning. abc's alex marquardt is live for us in johannesburg. alex? >> good evening, dan. a new day has dawned here in south africa. there's a profound sense of loss and mourning that has swept the entire country. what's really remarkable are celebrations like this one right outside mandela's home that we've seen spring up around the country. south africans marking the passing of this great man by
celebrating his life. when the news broke tonight of mandela's death, south africans of all stripes flocked to mandela's home. young, old, white, black. ♪ they danced. they sang old songs of struggle from the apartheid era. >> i think we should celebrate what he has achieved and what he has given us. i wouldn't be free without him. >> reporter: but some who showed up to pay their respects were overcome with grief. >> i'm disappointed. i'm sad. but at the same time, i think he's had his part in life and he did it very well. >> reporter: these scenes swept across the country, growing into the wee hours of the morning after president jacob zuma broke
the news to the nation and to the world. >> he's now at peace. our nation has lost its greatest son. our people have lost a father. >> reporter: trents to the man affectionately known as tata madiba immediately poured in. including from f.w. declerk, the last president of white supremacist south africa. "your spirit and example will always be there to guide us to the vision of a better and more just south africa." now ten days of national mourning will start, during which mandela will lie in state in the capital pretoria so south africans can say final good-byes before he's carried back to his ancestral village for burial. dan? >> thanks, alex.
when nelson mandela walked out of prison in 1990, after nearly 30 years it represented much more than his personal freedom. it meant that he and all of those who fought so hard for him and his cause had finally won a major battle. but the broader fight was far from over. "nightline's" founding anchor ted koppel was there to speak with him soon after he was released. >> this is abc news "nightline," reporting from south africa, ted koppel. >> tonight we have only one guest, nelson mandela. most people would look at the last 27 years of your life and say to themselves, what a waste. what about you? >> that is true. to spend 27 years at the prime of your life is a tragedy. and i regret those years that i have wasted in prison. but there are very positive aspects too. because i had the opportunity to
think about problems and to reflect on my mistakes. >> amazing. and over the years, mandela's special history with "nightline" continued. here's abc's chief foreign correspondent terry moran on the man who helped change so much. >> there is mr. nelson mandela, mr. nelson mandela, a free man taking his first steps into a new south africa. >> reporter: it was a long walk nelson mandela took, a walk that lasted nearly a century, a walk to freedom and human dignity. a walk he ended up taking the whole world on along with him. >> on behalf of our rainbow nation, i welcome you all. >> reporter: nelson mandela towered over them. a moral and political leader of surpassing strength, implacable determination, and profound decency. >> i am a product of africa.
and the long-cherished dream of a rebirth that can now be realized. so that all of our children may play in the sun. >> reporter: mandela was born in 1918 into the royal family of the tembu people, but he grew up under apartheid, the vicious system of racial segregation and oppression by which the white minority ruled south africa. it's hard today to imagine the pure evil of that system. abject poverty for blacks and severe restrictions on travel, education and employment. whites enjoyed all of the power and riches in this rich country. mandela's trouble name meant troublemaker, so perhaps it was his destiny. he quickly rose to prominence as a lawyer, founding the country's first black law firm, and leading agitator for change. especially after the terrible sharpville massacre in 1960 when he and the african national congress took up armed struggle. >> there are many people who
feel that it is useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and nonviolence against a government who is on this savage path against unarmed and defenseless people. >> reporter: mandela was a born leader. so in 1964 the apartheid government tried him for treason and sought the dead penalty. his opening statement to the court electrified the country. >> i have cherished the ideals of a democratic and free society. it is an idea for which i hope to live for and to see realized. but my lord, if it needs be, it is an idea for which i am prepared to die. >> reporter: mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to the notorious robben island prison.
he was not heard from for nearly 30 years. he was just prisoner number 46664. the years passed in prison. mandela became a myth, a global symbol for the fight against apartheid. ♪ and then in 1990, the south african government, under increasing pressure and isolated in the world, suddenly yielded. >> mr. nelson mandela will be released. >> it was an amazing moment when mandela walked out of prison on february 11, 1990, the world rejoiced. after his release, there was miraculously it seemed, no trace of bitterness for what he'd endured. but his resolve was unbroken. >> today, the majority of south africans, black and white, recognize that apartheid has no future. >> reporter: he worked with his former enemy, prime minister declerk, to move toward free elections and the end of
apartheid. he and declerk were jointly awarded the nobel peace prize in 1993, and then the following year, this. the world again looked on in wonder and joy as millions of black south africans lined up to vote for the first time. nelson mandela was elected president in a landslide. >> so help me god. >> reporter: a few months later at his inauguration, attended by scores of world leaders, he declared a new era for his beloved country. >> never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again have the oppression of one by another. >> reporter: mandela served only one five-year term, handing the reins to his vice president. the years had taken their toll. mandela and his wife winnie divorced in 1996 after a four-year separation. after leaving office, mandela took on the role of elder world statesman, fighting injustice
not only in south africa but also in the rest of the world. he married his third wife and long-time companion grassa michelle on his 80th birthday and content at last made an effort to retreat from public life. >> don't call me. i'll call you. >> reporter: his public appearances became increasingly rare, each one of them a reason to celebrate. he was all smiles when his great grandchildren sang to him on his 92nd birthday. ♪ happy birthday to you when he closed his eyes for the last time, nelson mandela was surrounded by his family and by the affection and admiration of the world. he has truly fought the good fight, walked that long walk. a journey unfinished towards justice, peace, and love. and on that journey, which is after all the course of human history, we all follow in nelson mandela's footsteps.
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countrym countrymen. but the impact of that effort was felt well beyond those borders, especially here in the united states. you met mr. mandela on his first visit to the united states. >> that's right. it was 23 years ago in boston. long before he chatted with a young reporter, this historic figure moved a nation. >> nelson mandela. >> reporter: for many who heard nelson mandela speak, it wasn't so much his orator skills -- >> nothing will stop our date with destiny. >> reporter: but the aura of a story that inspired. a story so familiar and intertwined with america's past and still so very painful. >> racism will not survive. >> reporter: it was just four months after he was set free from prison in 1990 that nelson mandel what set foot in america for the first time. an eight-city tour starting in new york. it was magical. it was as if malcolm or martin were still alive and the nets had won the world series, all in new york, all in one day.
former new york mayor david dinkins was instrumental in making new york mandela's first stop in america. >> in my mind, mandela was ten feet tall. what nelson mandela was able to achieve demonstrated what in fact can occur. >> reporter: one american who like mandela knows the high price of equality, congressman john lewis. >> if nelson mandela can do it we can do it. >> reporter: tonight the movie about mandela's life "long walk to freedom" premiered in london. those who attended didn't know mandela had died until after. >> extremely sad and tragic news. >> reporter: the anti-apartheid protests of the '80s captivated a new generation on college campuses and communities. ♪ >> reporter: amidst the demonstrations demanding divestment in south africa here,
the ongoing violence there in townships like soweta, it took the story of one man who 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. >> i said didn't you hate the people when they let you go? he said, briefly i did. but when i was walking out of my compound for the last time i said to myself, they've had you 27 years. if you hate them when you get through that door, they will still have you. >> if you can 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. barack obama met nelson mandela when he was just a junior senator here in 2005. and years later his wife had the chance to tell mandela what he meant to her and the president. >> you cannot imagine how
important your legacy is to who i am, to who my husband is. i just said, thank you, thank you, thank you. >> reporter: so back during his first visit there was little wonder why, watching a 71-year-old man dance could please so many. it was the walk that preceded it. when i met mr. mandela 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 constantly at war. good men must choose. with defiance and dignity in equal measure. nelson mandela chose and america loved him for it. >> this was at 4:00 in the morning. >> that's right. >> thanks very much. appreciate it. we'll be right back. through all of our energy operations, we invest more in the u.s. than any other place in the world.
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♪ mr. mandela >> it was tremendous. it was tremendous. there was a lot of excitement. electricity in the air. and he was truly one of the great, great heroes of our time. >> when we were in prison, we appreciated and obviously listened to the sound of detroit. motor town. >> his spirit and his ideals and his heart and soul could not be imprisoned. ♪ >> and you performed on mandel what day in 2009. if you were going to perform a tribute song to him now, do you know what it would be? >> "respect." no question about it. "respect."
♪ what you are baby i got ♪ what you need do you know i got it ♪ >> no question about it. nelson mandela is already one of the most quoted men on the planet. his words helped bring an end to apartheid and still inspire those fighting injustice today. >> we are here because you took the humane decision that you could not ignore. the inhumanity represented by the apartheid system. we have never doubted in our minds, even during the blackest hour, that eventually we would win. >> even as we celebrate, let us remind ourselves that our work is far from finished. where there is poverty and sickness, including ai,