tv Lockup MSNBC December 15, 2013 1:00am-2:01am PST
but after sharpville, they decided that maybe that wasn't enough. the anc decided that it would form a paramilitary wing and nelson mandela was one of the anc leaders who went underground to help start it. they said they would target government buildings and strategic infrastructure and they would try to sabotage the state. after sharpville, the government of south africa started mass arrests of anc leaders and other activists.
they banned the anc. they made it illegal to be a member of that group. nelson mandela was arrested in for treason in 1961, but he was acquitted. he was arrested again in 1962 the this time he was convicted, convicted of traveling illegally. they sentenced him to five years of hard labor on south africa's version of alcatraz. while he was already in prison, they put him on trial again, this time for sabotage and they convicted him and they sentenced him to life in prison, to life on robin island. so in 1964, he began a new sentence that was a life sentence. and for the first 18 years of it, his cell on robin island had no bed, no plumbing of any kind, he was permitted one letter every six months. he was permitted one visitor per year for 30 minutes. he became a symbol worldwide of the fight to stop apartheid.
the south african government would not allow a picture to be taken of him in prison for decades. and so the image, the free nelson mandela image was always him as a young man in his 40s as he had been when he had been locked away, even at the age decade after decade in prison. he served 27 years in prison, 18 of them in hard labor at that island cell before south africa was finally arrest to give up apartheid. and when f.w. was arrested as president in 1969, it was essentially to relent, to start to give up the arcane and brutal racial system that south africa invented after world war ii, after hitler. and they fought for 50 years against the people that subjugated that system. he legalized the anc, he unbaned the organization. and in february of 1990, he
visited then 70-year-old nelson mandela still in prison 27 years later and he told them that he was going to set him free the next morning. and on february 11th, 1990, nelson mandela emerged. [ speaking foreign language ]. >> nelson mandela speaks after 27 years. >> progress and fellow south africans i greet you all in the name of peace.
democratic and freedom for all. i stand here before you not as a profit, but as a humble servant for you, the people. >> after 27 years in prison, when nelson mandela was released, he led the negotiations for the anc for the end of apartheid and apartheid was dismentaled. in 1994, nelson mandela was elected the first president of south africa in the first election ever held in that country where all adult citizens were welcome to vote regardless of race. in voting that took three days, april 27th is now a national holiday in south africa. it's called freedom day. and when it came time to sign
the new constitution for south africa, which eliminated all vestiges of law by race, president nelson mandela went to sharpville to sign the constitution. today, nelson mandela died at home. his family says it was his wish to be buried in the town that he was born. joining us now is congressman lewis. thank you for being here on this historic day. >> thank you very much, rachel, for having me and thank you for that rich history, telling the story and how it happened. it was very moving. >> i have to ask, your young career as a young man in the south in the american civil rights moment, how did nelson mandela's work form your own? what's tintser play between our civil rights movement and our struggle? >> well, the leadership, the commitment, the dedication, the
inspiration of this one man meant everything to the american civil rights movement. i remember as a young student in nashville in 1962 and '63 and '64, we said that if nelson mandela can do it, we can do it. we identified with the struggle. and when i met him for the first time, he said to me, john lewis, i know all about you. i follow you. you inspired us. i said no, mr. mandela, you inspired us. so that was his unbelievable relationship twn what was happening in america and what happened in south africa. we were there from time to time. the struggle in thelmar is -- from the struggling sharpville. >> one of the reasons i wanted to talk to you today,
congressman, was reading about and thinking about and trying to understand the importance of those decisions made by mandela and other anti-apartheid leaders after sharpville when they decided nonviolence wasn't enough. they have been committed to nonviolence in the way that you have been committed to nonviolence throughout your life even in the face of incredible peru at that time. they decided that they needed a military response, as well. it never ended up being the key part in their response to apartheid. how international were those discussions about the porps of on nonviolence and whether or not it was enough to overthrow governments and to change the world? >> here in america and around the world, there was ongoing discussion about the way of peace, the way of love, the way of nonviolence, appealing to people not to give up. but mr. mandela and the people of south africa learned and
stand in prison 27 years, he came out committed to the way of peace, to the way of love, to the way of nonviolence, to the way of reconciliation. and south africa, through his leadership, he liberated the spirit of the oppressed and the spirit of the oppressor. >> when you met him, when he was released from prison, you described a little bit about what that conversation was like. what does it feel like for you to meet him? >> it was both inspiring and intimidating. we greeted each other. he gave me this unbelievable hug. i hugged him. he held me tightly and i said, thank you, thank you, mr. mandela, thank you. thank you for speaking up. thank you for being such a
leader. i knew i was standing in the midst of greatness. so i was a little nervous about meeting him. and i had an opportunity to see him several other occasions. he just made me feel more human. >> congressman john lewis, you were the person i wanted to talk to more than anybody else tonight. thank you. >> thank you. >> we've got so much more ahead. please stay with us. lots to come. i went to see a man who organized this stay away, 42-year-old 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. i asked him what it was that the african really wanted. >> the africans will triumph -- fragiles on the basis of one man, one vote, and one political vote. >> do you see africans being able to develop in this country without the europeans pushed out on? >> we have made it very clear in our policy that south africa is a country of many races. there is room for all races in this country. my mother and my grandmother are very old fashioned.
i think we both are clean freaks. i used to scrub the floor on my knees. [ daughter ] i've mastered the art of foot cleaning. oh, boy. oh, boy. oh, boy. [ carmel ] that drives me nuts. it gives me anxiety just thinking about how crazy they get. [ doorbell rings ] [ daughter ] oh, wow. [ carmel ] swiffer wetjet. you guys should try this. it's so easy. oh, my. [ gasps ] i just washed this floor. if i didn't see it i wouldn't believe it. [ carmel ] it did my heart good to see you cleaning. [ regina ] yeah, your generation has all the good stuff. [ daughter ] oh, yeah.
you see, i wasn't born into a political family. i was not active in student government in high school. but when i was in college, there was one issue that moved me for the very first time in my life to become politically active and play a small leadership role in my community. this issue was apartheid. and as a young college student, i became involved in the divestment movement in the united states.
he is now at peace. our nation has lost its greatest son. our people have lost a father. although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. >> african president jacob zuma earlier tonight, announcing the death of nelson mandela in south africa.
mr. man del della was hospitalized this past june. in late june, his condition went from serious to critical and at one point mr. mandela was placed on life-support. his family gathered, seemingly getting ready to say good-bye. for several days in late june, the whole world braced for the world of mr. mandela's passing. world leaders from president obama to the u.n. secretary general, ban ki-moon, offered prayers and remembrances. but mr. mandela held on this summer. by the time of his 95th birthday on july 18th, with crowds gathered outside his hotel room to sing to him, to celebrate his life, mr. mandela was described by then as responding to treatment and his doctors said he was steadily improving. by august, mr. mandela was breathing normally. and although he was still battling the lung infection that had hospitalized him in the first place, in august, he was -- excuse me, on the first of september, he was discharged
from the hospital, so that he can continue to receive intensive care at home, in johannesburg. after he died at his home today in johannesburg, his home there is where south africans have gathered tonight to pay their respects. joining us now is nbc news africa correspondent, rohit, thank you very much for being with us. what can you tell us just about the scene where you are and the reaction there? >> reporter: well, rachel, a quite extraordinary picture behind us. it's 4:00 a.m. in the morning here in south africa and we have a crowd of hundreds of people who haven't gone to sleeps, hundreds of people who, on the whole, fairly young. these are people who are part of the so-called born free generation, those who have no memory of apartheid, who were born after the birth of democracy in south africa, and
they have come here not to mourn. i've not seen a single person here crying. they're all here to celebrate. and they're doing that by singing songs from the antiapartheid struggle, singing the national anthem, which includes all 12 languages of south africa, this sort of musical celebration of the rainbow nation of multi-cultural south africa. and they're going to keep going. this is a party and the mood, the expectation was one of mourning, but actually what people are celebrating here is not only the life of nelson mandela, but what he gave to all south africans through his fight against apartheid, through his 27 areas in prison, much of the it spent in solitary confinement. even the youngest ones are well aware of the life that they might have lived, had it not been for the sacrifice of nelson mandela.
and i suspect that's a great deal of what's being celebrated here. early in the morning here in south africa outside the home of nelson mandela. >> rohit, i wonder if it's your sense that with the scare this summer in july in particular, when everyone was so worried that he was going to pass, and when the world sort of prepared for the idea that he might die, if that sort of -- if some of the grieving happened then, the recognition that he was going to pass and people have started to move on to his legacy, rather than just his loss since then. >> reporter: yeah, i think that's a fair statement, rachel. it's six months since he was first admitted to the hospital. he's been around four months, firstly seriously hill, then critically ill. then he was returned home, discharged from the hospital in september. but his family made it clear that we weren't to get too excited, because his home here had been essentially kited out
as an extensive care unit, right here in the middle of the city, inside his home. so, you know, there's been a great deal of grieving in one sense, already, people have become quite used to this, this enactment, a 95-year-old man with a serious respiratory illness, who has been incredibly sick for several years now, dying at this grand old age, and was entirely predictable, but it was painful nonetheless. painful in those first few hours, talking to people here, listening to people, but i sense that even in those few hours since, the mood is slightly changing, as people reflect on the life of nelson mandela and what his sacrifice did for everyone here, rachel. >> rohit kachroo, thank you so much for staying up until the wee hours with us, i really appreciate you being there. thank you. we've got lots more to come.
when president obama visited south africa this past summer, he brought his family to robin island to see the cell where nelson mandela had been imprisoned by the apartheid regime for so many years. because mr. mandela had been so ill this year, president obama did not personally visit with him while he was on that trip to south africa. in fact, this is interesting. the only time the two men apparently ever met in person
was in 2005 in washington, when mr. obama was just starting his career in the united states senate. "the new york times" reports that the one visit started when mr. mandela's advisers told him, while he was on a trip to washington, that while he was there, he ought to take a little bit of time to try to meet this rising star young senator who had given such a great speech at the democratic national convention the year before. and so senator obama got the call, unexpectedly. he was on his way to meeting on a totally different subject at the time, but he diverted course in washington and drove to mr. mandela's hotel room in washington. and that is where this picture was taken. which is the only picture of the two men ever taken. it was taken by senator obama's personal assistant at the time, who was driving him to that other meeting when the call came through to please come meet nelson mandela, and that's the only time they have ever been photographed together. we'll be right back. more to come.
it is you, the people of the bay area, who have given me and my delegation strength and open to grow back and continue the struggle. you must remember that you are our blood brothers and sisters. you are comrades in the struggle. remember that we respect you, we admire you, and above all, we love you all.
thank! thank you! >> i was there that day, in person. i was 17 and the oakland coliseum, of all places, in oakland, california, was nelson mandela's final stop on a tour of the united states that he took upon his release from prison after 27 years. this was less than six months after he was freed from prison. he's in his 70s. he'd not been free in decades. and he took this exhausting tour, and you would not think of the bay area and oakland as being must-do stops on that kind of a tour, but nelson mandela, upon getting out of prison, made a specific point of traveling to oakland, california, because oakland, california, and berkeley, and san francisco all had passed municipal policies that insisting on divesting stock from any company that did business in south africa. even the longshoreman at the west coast ports in california had refused to unload south
african goods coming into the ports of the bay area. all in protest of the apartheid system. all to try to support the fight against it in south africa. all to try to pressure the apartheid government to give up. and so, nelson mandela came all the way to oakland to say thank you for doing that. it mattered. it is part of why i am free and it is part of why apartheid is ending. and that decision about divestment was not an uncontroversial one in american politics at the time. president ronald reagan was vehemently opposed to that strategy. he and margaret thatcher actively imposed sanctions against the apartheid regime. margaret thatcher went so far to call nelson mandela a terrorist, but that's another story. but the united states and the united kingdom both voted at the u.n. to block international sanctions against the south african regime. despite their opposition, by the late 1980s, there was enough public momentum in favor of
blocking trade to south africa. there was enough in favor that the u.s. congress passed something call the comprehensived antiapartheid act in 1986. it banned all new investment in south africa. it blocked the importing of most south african goods, and president reagan was vehemently against it. he went so far as to use his presidential veto to try to stop it. >> mr. reagan, on friday, vetoed a bill that imposes economic sanctions on south africa. the bill limits u.s. investment in south africa and bans u.s. imports of south african uranium, coal, steel, and agricultural products. mr. reagan is opposed to the sanctions, but he must convince at least 20 senators to change their positions if a veto is to be sustained. both sides say that is unlikely. >> president reagan's veto was to the sustained. it was overridden by an overwhelming vote in both the house and the senate, include
manager, many, many members of his own republican party. it was the first override of a presidential veto on a foreign policy issue in the century. and anti-apartheid leaders credit those sanctions and credit the private divestment movement around the united states and around the world with bringing about the pressure and the isolation that was necessary to eventually humble the apartheid regime. to humble the ruling south african government and bring them to the negotiations that eventually freed nelson mandela and brought him into the apartheid system. the fight here to do that was nothing compared to the fight in south africa, but politically, it was a he can of a fight here too. joining us now is former california congressman and former oakland mayor, ron dellums. he was the sponsor of the 1986 antiapartheid act. congressman dellums, nice to see you. thank you very much for being here. >> it's an honor to be here. i'm one of your great fans, my friend. >> well, thank you. tell me what led you to sponsor
the antiapartheid act in the 1986? >> a little-known fact in history is that a group of african-american employees of the polaroid company, which took pictures that were in the path books of black south africans during the apartheid regime were inspired by the organization of the congressional black caucus in late 1971. they came down to washington, d.c. because they were concerned about trying to make a statement of divestment, of polaroid, and its partnership in the apartheid cooperation in the apartheid effort. the congressional black caucus asked me to meet with these folks. i met with them and we agreed to put a peaceful legislation together and i kept reintroducing it for 15 years and thought every day for 15 years until we finally got it passed by the house of representatives. but it was a small group of militant polaroid workers who had the courage and the vision
to help begin that process. >> when the other side in this american political fight argued against you, when ronald reagan's side argued that, instead, they wanted engagement, that divestment would hurt the very people who you were trying to help and it would hurt black south africans more than anybody, because they were economically disadvantaged, how did you rebut those arguments? why did you eventually win such an overwhelming vote? >> because people understood that if the folks who were feeling the oppression were the ones arguing for disinvestment, and they were, south africans were arguing for divestment, black south africans, activists, were arguing for disinvestment. so what we did was simply put into legislative form the screams of the people in south africa who were feeling the pain and the activists in this country, coming out of the civil rights movement, who understood that pain and were willing to stand with them.
so we said, how can you, from the outside, make such a tragic argument? it was the moral imperative that eventually overcame these folks. >> and what -- to what degree do you think divestment in those sanctions ended up being a tipping point in south africa? how important did it end up being, in conjunction with all the work that was, of course, being done by antiapartheid activists there and around the world? >> a german journalist came to washington, d.c. several years later, said that he had done a great deal of research. his research indicated that f edward and margaret thatcher had a conversation. edward said to her, what do you think i should do? and her response was, the vote passed two years ago, it passed again on a record vote this year. now the democrats control the senate.
it will pass the senate. this investment will become the law of the land. his response was, so what should i do? her response was, free mandela and begin to negotiate a new south africa while you have leverage, because if this investment becomes the law of the united states, with cooperation around the world, you will have no leverage. and so he said, tell mr. dellums, that while this bill never became law, it hung over south africa like the sword of damocles. >> wow. well, california congressman, ron dellums, thank you very much for helping us understand this history on this night of all nights, sir. it's invaluable to have your perspective here. thank you so much. >> it's my honor, my friend. >> thank you. dan rather is going to join us next. we'll be right back. stay with us. >> at the end, the bloodletting stopped. at the end, goodwill prevailed. at the end, the overwhelming majority, both black and white, decided to invest in peace.
our next guest is dan rather. mother are very old fashioned. i think we both are clean freaks. i used to scrub the floor on my knees. [ daughter ] i've mastered the art of foot cleaning. oh, boy. oh, boy. oh, boy. [ carmel ] that drives me nuts. it gives me anxiety just thinking about how crazy they get. [ doorbell rings ] [ daughter ] oh, wow. [ carmel ] swiffer wetjet. you guys should try this. it's so easy. oh, my. [ gasps ] i just washed this floor. if i didn't see it i wouldn't believe it. [ carmel ] it did my heart good to see you cleaning. [ regina ] yeah, your generation has all the good stuff. [ daughter ] oh, yeah.
reporting tonight from nbc news headquarters in new york. >> good evening. nelson mandela was honored by new york city today in a way usually reserved for presidents, astronauts, and hometown world series champs. he came here to continue his campaign against apartheid and president bush said today that u.s. sanctions would stay on until certain additional steps are taken. but for the most part, this was a day to celebrate mandela. the man who spent 27 years in prison was given a hero's welcome. governor mario cuomo calling him a symbol of the indestructibility of the human spirit. the 71-year-old mandela seemed
tired and not quite ready for it all. jesse jackson gave him a hand with his tie. mandela urged the united states to maintain its tough policy against south africa, as blacks there struggle for equality. >> and the only way in which we can work together on this difficult road is for you to ensure that sanctions are applied. >> mandela! mandela! >> mandela and his wife, winnie, stopped by a brooklyn high school. they were greeted by 10,000 people. then new york city honored mandela has no other city can. a ticker tape parade up broadway. mandela said he knew he had friends in new york, but never dreamed he was so loved. the key to the city from mayor david dinkins. mandela then talked of unlocking the shackles of apartheid. >> we want those in south africa, to their country which vanishes forever, embraces them in all its forms. south africa should be freed. this struggle continues. thank you! >> i am one of the countless
>> when you interviewed him after his release from prison in 1990, what do you remember about -- what do you remember about that personal encounter with him? i'm struck by what governor mario cuomo said at the time, the indestructibility of the human spirit. he became famous in prison, never broken, always expected to take up the leadership mantel after all that time and prove worthy of it. there was something about his human resilience that made him heroic. >> resilience is always a term that will be known with nelson mandela and also through a colleague and friend, i was with nelson mandela in his home the night he first came back to his home.
and i was struck by how calm his demeanor was, how often he spoke of forgiveness. if there was any sense of revenge or pay back in the man, it was not apparent. i don't think there was any. now, he was the first to say -- and he said that night and he said continually after, he was an imperfect person, an imperfect leader. he had made his mistakes. but he was all about forgiveness. my most vivid memory of him that night was his absolute determination for reconciliation in his country and a sense of forgiveness. now, a few days later i had a one-on-one on camera interview with him and he's talked eloquently about the desire of south africa to move forward in the future. he had no illusions that it
would take time but he accomplished that after his death. >> running against the man who released him from jail, was it obvious to you back then that nelson mandela was going to win that election? was the future of south africa clearly written? >> no. first of all, it was not you a assured that mandela would be elected. beyond that, there was no certainty that he would be able to reunite and reconcile the country and after he won the election he made great strides towards doing but i do want to say, the remarkable thing about nelson mandela, he never claimed to be a saint. what made him the larger than life hero was his vulnerability, his weaknesses, the fact that he had done things that he wished he had not done. that made him all the more human.
hey there, i'm veronica de la cruz. south africa's long good-bye to nelson mandela is going to end where his journey began, his hometown. a funeral service held today in the rural village moments ago. the casket will be taken to the site after a long burial ceremony. the ending to a man who spent 27 years in prison and emerged preaching forgiveness and reconciliation. thousands of people attended the service including family, friends, and foreign dignitaries, including prince charles and oprah winfrey. today's ceremony will mark the end of the