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AC 360 LATER

Nelson Mandela Dies

Aired December 5, 2013 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It is 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast of the United States, 5:00 a.m. in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Tonight: the passing of Nelson Mandela and the meaning of his remarkable life. Through grit and grace and the kind of generosity of soul that few people possess, he led black and Indian South Africans out of a second-class or in many case as barely human existence. He helped dismantle a police state, birthing a new South Africa that all could be proud of.

He inspired people all over the world to see things differently, to look to their better angels, to prize justice over injustice, compassion over cruelty in the sometimes unforgiving world to champion forgiveness.

This evening at a Hanukkah celebration, President Obama paid tribute.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And, tonight, our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family in South Africa. They're grieving the loss of a man, a moral giant who embodied the dignity and the courage and the hope and sought to bring about justice not only in South Africa, but I think to inspire millions around the world, and he did that, the idea that every single human being ought to be free and that oppression can end and justice can prevail.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: That was a Supreme Court justice who said yes.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And from the first lady, this tweet -- quote -- "We will forever draw strength and inspiration from Nelson Mandela's extraordinary example of moral courage, kindness and humility."

Nelson Mandela, Madiba, was 95 years old when he died this evening at home. He lived long, spent final years well. So tonight, along with sadness, there is celebration at how far Nelson Mandela brought South Africa and brought us all. Throughout the hour, we're going to talk to people who followed his journey, including some who were privileged to share it.

First, Robyn Curnow on the arc of his remarkable life.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nelson Mandela's struggle for freedom defined his life.

He was born in the remote hills of South Africa's Eastern Cape. He was given the name Rolihlahla, which means troublemaker. He was only given the name Nelson by a schoolteacher later on. After moving to Johannesburg and studying law, Mandela's troublemaking politics began.

And as a boxer, he became adept at picking fights and sparring with the apartheid authorities, which had increased its oppression against the black population. It was then that Mandela made the crucial decision to take up an armed struggle, launching the African National Congress's armed wing. He was militant and a firebrand, defiantly burning his passbook, a dreaded document the apartheid authorities used to control the movement of South Africa's black population.

NELSON MANDELA, ANTI-APARTHEID LEADER: The Africans require, want the franchise on the basis of one man, one vote. They want political independence.

CURNOW: That simple demand and the methods Mandela took to fight for democracy eventually saw him and others tried for treason and sabotage by the apartheid government, acts punishable by death.

But they got life imprisonment instead, banished to Robben Island, one of the country's most brutal and isolated prisons. Another political prisoner, Mac Maharaj, remembers the first time he saw Mandela in the prison yard.

MAC MAHARAJ, FORMER POLITICAL PRISONER: I could see from the way he walked and from his conduct that here was a man already stamping his authority on prison regime.

CURNOW: Mandela was released 27 years later.

MANDELA: I have spoken about freedom in my lifetime. Your struggle, your commitment and your discipline has released me to stand before you today.

CURNOW: And his lack of bitterness towards the apartheid authorities helped him to lead one of the most remarkable political transitions of the 20th century.

Mandela, the trained lawyer and lifelong rebel, outmaneuvered the apartheid leaders. And he steered South Africa's peaceful transition to democracy. He won a Nobel Peace Prize together with his former enemy, the apartheid leader F.W. De Klerk. MANDELA: And to devote myself to the well-being of the republic and all its people.

CURNOW: And then he became South Africa's first black president in 1994.

MANDELA: So help me God.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARTIN MEREDITH, MANDELA BIOGRAPHER: What marks Mandela's career as president more -- almost more than anything else is that after five years, he stepped down. There have been very few presidents in Africa who have ever given up willingly.

MANDELA: Don't call me.

(LAUGHTER)

MANDELA: I will call you.

(LAUGHTER)

CURNOW: His retirement years were busy with fund-raising for charities close to his heart. He celebrated his 90th birthday with much fanfare and told CNN in a rare interview that, looking back, he wouldn't do anything differently.

MANDELA: I don't regret it, because the things that attracted me were things that pleased my soul.

CURNOW: Now those who loved and respected him look to his legacy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if we want to learn from him, learn that life is not made up of all straight victories. It's made up of mistakes, zigzags, stumbling, picking yourself up, and dusting off the dirt, treating the bruise, and walking again forward. And that's what Mandela is.

MANDELA: Goodbye.

CURNOW: Robyn Curnow, CNN, Johannesburg, South Africa.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, tributes have been coming in all night, of course.

From former President Bill Clinton -- quote -- "Today, the world lost one of its most important leaders and one of its finest human beings. We will remember him as a man of uncommon grace and compassion for whom abandoning bitterness and embracing adversaries was not just a political strategy, but a way of life."

Former President George W. Bush says: "President Mandela was one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time. He bore his burdens with dignity and grace and our world is better off because of his example. This good man will be missed, but his contributions will live on forever."

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said simply, "A great man left us today and went to his reward. Nelson Mandela, Madiba, led his people to freedom and by his example inspired the world. I was privileged to know him."

You're looking there -- show you some live images from Soweto, where there is celebration, not just sadness, again, this past 5:00 a.m. there in Soweto in the outskirts of Johannesburg.

Robyn Curnow joins us now from South Africa, along with chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour. Also with us is Richard Stengel, former "TIME" managing editor and author of "Mandela's Way: Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage." CNN political commentator Donna Brazile also joins us, and outside Harlem's Apollo Theater, Congressman Charles Rangel joins us.

Congressman Rangel, this is the first we have heard from you tonight,. Your thoughts on Nelson Mandela. I know you went there to South Africa. You met him. You knew him.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: Well, God must have spent a whole lot of time in making Nelson Mandela.

And as heavy as my heart is, I can only thank God that God shared him with the world. And he's been an inspiration to so many people. I'm here on 125th Street in the heart of Harlem, adjacent to the Apollo Theater. And all I can think about is when David Dinkins invited President Mandela to come to the United States, to come to Harlem, and the throngs of Harlemites and people from all over the city came to see and to hear Nelson Mandela.

I heard what you have said, and I know everyone knows the great contribution that he's made to the world. But let me say from a very personal point of view that African-Americans, the most loyal Americans, have really been denied what most Americans enjoy, and that is their history from where they came from.

And not only were our names taken away, our songs, our history, our culture, our language, but Africans were demonized. And when I was a kid, the worst thing you could do is call anybody an African. But when Nelson Mandela came on the scene, where every black kid could say, gee, mom, that great guy looks just like me, doesn't he?

He has given to African-Americans something that you can't get out of churches and you couldn't get out of schools. He gave us an identity to know that when God made him and made us to look like him, he was thinking about all of us.

And so I don't know what it takes for God to pick up a saint, but I tell you one thing. He'd win in any election for sainthood all over the world.

COOPER: Well said. Rick Stengel, I want to toss it to you, because one of the things that Congressman Rangel was saying which is interesting about him identifying as an African, as a young man, as a child, he was born a Xhosa, which is his ethnic group. And at the time, the white regime really used those ethnic divisions between Zulus and Xhosa and other groups within South Africans, Indians and others, to divide and maintain power.

And it was Mandela, the change in his consciousness, seeing himself as an African first, not just as an Xhosa which was really a crucial step for him to take

RICHARD STENGEL, FORMER MANAGING EDITOR, "TIME": Yes. I mean, part of the evil genius of apartheid was that it didn't just separate whites and black. It separated blacks from each other and tried to engender rivalries between the tribes.

One of the most powerful aspects of the African National Congress, which incorporated the black consciousness movement, was, hey, we're all together. What unites us is much greater than what divides us.

And that was Nelson Mandela's great and devout belief. And that is what helped the ANC triumph in the long run.

COOPER: And it was the defiance campaign really which brought the unity between what were -- people who were called colored in South Africa at the time and black South Africans, Indians, and others really working together for the first time in a way, a civil disobedience campaign.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely.

And it was -- it galvanized not just South Africa, but the rest of the world as well. When President Zuma today paid respect and announced to the world that the greatest South African, he said, South Africa's greatest son has passed on, has departed, he said, it wasn't just us, but the rest of the world who embraced Mandela. And he paid tribute to the sacrifices that he had made.

We know the sacrifices his family has made. He paid tribute to the sacrifices of his family and called this a man of humility, humanity and compassion. And on a night like this, I think you remember and you're just sort of galvanized by how this man who wasn't an aristocrat, but treated in the most terrible way because of apartheid, and then triumphed over the system by forcing them to respect him, even though he was the prisoner.

The guards respected him. The system eventually respected him. He was able to reach out and negotiate in a very sophisticated political manner the end of apartheid.

COOPER: Well, the filmmaker Spike Lee joins us now on the phone.

Spike, President Mandela had a cameo in your film "Malcolm X," where he played a teacher in South Africa reciting the final lines from Malcolm X's by any means necessary speech. What was it like to know him, to be impacted by him?

SPIKE LEE, DIRECTOR: Well, Anderson, thanks for having me on the show.

And during my research, I found out that the "Autobiography of Malcolm X as Told to Alex Haley" was one of many books that kept Nelson Mandela going in many years of imprisonment. And so I got the idea that we should have Nelson be in the last scene in the film.

And at this time, apartheid was still in place. And we all knew it was going to end and he was going to run for president. But the last line of the speech was, by any means necessary. Nelson told me: "Spike, I can't say that. I cannot say by any means necessary."

So then I said, OK, President -- I said, OK, Mr. Mandela. So then we just cut to archival footage of Malcolm X saying by any means necessary.

But, Anderson, I would like to say one thing, because there's a lot of revisionist history going on, because at one time, the United States and many other countries said that the ANC was a terrorist group.

COOPER: Right.

LEE: You know, let's not forget that.

They're in apartheid trying to free themselves under the hateful regime, and they are a terrorist group? Let's not forget that. And the United States believed that, too. The United States believed that ANC was a terrorist group. Now, that was not true at all. They were freedom fighters. Let's not forget that fact.

COOPER: An important point to remember.

And, Rick, I mean, that is certainly true. There were many leaders in the United States, many people, many leaders around the world, who thought Nelson -- who viewed Nelson Mandela as a terrorist.

STENGEL: He was the number one terrorist in the world in the early 1960s.

And the other misnomer is, he was not an American exceptionalist. He didn't know that much about American history. And he didn't necessarily believe that American support for anti-apartheid was the thing that brought apartheid down. Remember, he identified with the leaders who supported him in the 1960s, leaders that we abjured, leaders like Mohammed -- like Gadhafi and Castro.

So he didn't see America as this shining city on a hill because America didn't see him that way.

COOPER: And, Spike, there was something interesting that Rick said in our 8:00 hour. And I don't know if you heard it. I just want to get Rick to reiterate it, because all of us so often comment that he was without bitterness, he was without anger toward his captors.

You were saying at the 8:00 hour there was bitterness there after 27 years in jail, as understandably as there would be, but he knew he could not express that. Explain that, Rick.

STENGEL: Yes.

I think that it is again a bit of a misnomer that he had no bitterness in his heart. He had tremendous resentment and bitterness for what happened.

LEE: He's a human being.

COOPER: Of course.

STENGEL: Right. He was mistreated in a way that is hard to imagine.

COOPER: Right. His life was taken away from him.

STENGEL: Right.

But he knew that the only way he could bring reconciliation to his country is that he could never let anyone see that bitterness, never let anybody see that resentment. He had to open his arms to the whites who oppressed him. And that was what made him successful.

AMANPOUR: And I think the way he did it...

LEE: And that's the same reason why he said, "Spike, I cannot say by any means necessary at the end of the film." He said "Spike, I can't do it."

AMANPOUR: That's right, and because there was a time in the '60s, before he was finally tried and sentenced, where he was with his fellow activists in saying, should we maybe be more violent? Have we been doing the right thing here, and after he came out of prison, forswore that and said, throw away your....

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: ... knives.

STENGEL: One of most interesting things he ever said to me was this idea of what -- of nonviolence.

Remember, we compare him to Gandhi, we compare him to Martin Luther King. He said: "I was not like them. For them, nonviolence was a principle. For me, it was a tactic. And when the tactic wasn't working, I reversed it and started" -- that's a very important difference.

COOPER: I want to bring in Robyn Curnow in Johannesburg.

Robyn, in terms of what is happening now, and we have seen folks in Soweto there out at 5:00 in the morning celebrating his life, remembering his life, singing the songs of the struggle, songs of Mandela and his life. What happens today, what happens in the days to come?

CURNOW: Well, just picture this. A lot of South Africans will only be waking up to this news now or in the next few hours. You can see dawn is breaking and the announcement came just a few minutes before midnight from President Jacob Zuma that Nelson Mandela had passed away.

So while there has been the sense of mourning in the last six, seven, eight hours, I think you're going to see a real sort of wave of emotion, of shock, of understanding, of knowledge, as people wake up to this news. So I think there is going to be a sense of thankfulness, though.

I think you're not going to see hysteria. You're not going to see sort of great scenes of overemotion. You're going to see people singing and dancing. There's going to be a sense of thankfulness, although also deep, deep, deep sadness.

COOPER: And, Spike, I know you have got to go. But just to bring it back to Rick Stengel's point, to me, that is what leadership is all about, to push down whatever feelings you may have, very legitimate feelings after having been in prison for 27 years, and to reach out to those who jailed you, who oppressed you, oppressed generations of your brothers and sisters.

To me, that is just an extraordinary, extraordinary thing.

LEE: Yes.

And that's why he was a great man that -- and I'm going to say is, not was. And the world is mourning him today.

AMANPOUR: And I think the way it showed itself was the Truth and Reconciliation Committee. That is the massive example of how you suppress bitterness. Instead of vengeance, instead of trying to get blood, he wanted to get something different.

COOPER: And to Spike's point earlier, it's about not forgetting history. It's about having people who committed crimes acknowledge the crimes and apologize for it, and not -- they would not be punished as long as they stood up to the history, to the horrors that they had committed, an extraordinary thing.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Spike Lee, great -- good to talk to you, as always. Thank you very much for calling in. We appreciate it.

We are going to continue the conversation shortly.

Let us know what you think. Let's talk about Mandela on Twitter right now @AndersonCooper. Tweet using #AC360.

Coming up next, remembering history. I want to talk more about the kind of place that apartheid South Africa was, because it's important to not forget this and to put it in context the way it was. It is simply mind-blowing, the horror of that regime for all those -- for all those years.

As we go to break, take a look, no greater tribute to Nelson Mandela right there and to how far South Africa has come, a statue of Mandela outside the South African Embassy in Washington.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANDELA: It is not my custom to use words lightly. If 27 years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact upon the way people live and die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Nelson Mandela understood both the power of words and the strength of bearing. In later life, that meant forbearance and forgiveness. Earlier, though, he embodied fierce resistance.

Here again, Robyn Curnow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW (voice-over): The 1960s in South Africa began with a massive government crackdown on the opposition to apartheid.

The African National Congress and the Pan-African Congress were banned. Anyone connected to those organizations were arrested. But the resistance did not stop. It went underground. And the tactics became more violent.

SOLOMON JOHANNES TERREBLANCHE, STELLENBOSCH UNIVERSITY: In December 1961, Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the ANC was launched. The leader of it was Nelson Mandela.

CURNOW: Umkhonto we Sizwe, also known as M.K., was responsible for attacks on public facilities in the early 1960s. Nelson Mandela was soon back in jail for inciting workers to strike and for leaving the country illegally.

In 1963, Mandela and other Umkhonto we Sizwe leaders went on trial on charges of guerrilla warfare and planning bomb attacks. The Rivonia trial found them guilty, and they were sentenced to life in prison.

TERREBLANCHE: The day before the judge gave his verdict on the 12th of June, 1964, he made a remarkable speech, because he thought, they thought that they are going to get the death penalty.

MANDELA: I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an idea for which I hope to live for. But, my lord, if it need be, it is an idea for which I am prepared to die.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: An idea for which he's prepared to die.

Back with our panel, Robyn Curnow, Christiane Amanpour, Rick Stengel, Donna Brazile, Congressman Charlie Rangel, and let's bring in senior political analyst David Gergen as well.

Congressman Rangel, though, I do want to start off with you. In an interview you gave, you said one of your proudest moments was meeting Mandela not long after he'd been released from prison, that he not only knew your name, but he also your nickname, "Bloody" Charlie Rangel. Tell us what that was like and what he was referring to.

RANGEL: Well, no, it was the "Bloody Rangel Amendment."

But someone implied earlier in the show that Nelson did not appreciate the United States of America being a late comer to the battle against apartheid. And that's just not so.

Nelson Mandela recognized that the racist country that he had to battle with the whites in South Africa, that racism in America was there. He understood that. But when America came, we didn't come just with hopes that it would happen. The Rangel amendment was a part of an overall agreement that Reagan, Ronald Reagan signed that forced the United States firms doing business in South Africa to not be tax- exempt and to pay taxes here, as well as to the people in South Africa.

And, as a result of that, the companies left. Nelson Mandela knew that it was the pressure that we put on American firms that broke the economy, that led to the crushing of apartheid. And he was deeply appreciative of that.

He knew that we had in America spots that we were not proud of on our history. But he also knew that it was our Constitution and our love for freedom was what he was -- wanted to and did bring to South Africa. So anybody that would say, because Castro and the other countries were more sympathetic than we were, you bet your life we're not proud of the fact that we were late to get involved in this freedom fight, but Nelson Mandela loved America, and he loved the appreciation that we have given to him.

But, finally, I wanted to say one gift that he gave to black America was our heritages. We have been raised and severed from Africa from the time we came here in slavery. We lost our names, our culture, our music. And not only did they take it away, but they would have us to believe that the people in Africa, the place that civilization was born, was inferior.

But one thing is abundantly clear, that when Nelson hit Harlem, when Nelson was freed, when Nelson became president, people of African descent all over the world and especially in my Harlem, he gave us a gift that the country never gave us.

COOPER: Yes.

And, Donna Brazile, you went to South Africa to help in the elections in advance of '94. When you look back at your own life, I know you say Mandela was a tremendous inspiration for you, but I do think it's important that we also remember the horrors of apartheid, the reality of it.

And I think, for many people who didn't grow up underneath it, it's hard to imagine what it was actually like.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, just talking to people in South Africa, I mean, what they described at times, the segregation, of course, lack of jobs, opportunities, the fear of going into another neighborhood without proper credentials or papers, it was quite heartbreaking.

But, at the same time, it was inspirational, because they wanted, they yearned for freedom. They supported Nelson Mandela. They looked forward to the election of 1994, and they celebrated. They celebrated by standing in lines, Anderson, for almost 24 hours, anticipating that they could, for the first time, many of them, in their lives vote. They wanted to be able to say that they voted for Nelson Mandela. It was a joyous, a joyful occasion.

COOPER: And David Gergen is joining us for the first time tonight.

David, your thoughts on this -- Mandela, who was really an adept politician in many ways. I mean, walking that line in South Africa in advance of his first election was an extraordinary thing.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's absolutely right, Anderson.

What you find frequently among these giants who walked among us, Gandhi was -- Martin Luther King and also Nelson Mandela, all three underneath were extraordinarily good politicians. So was Abraham Lincoln. They really understood.

And they relished the exercise of power. Rick Stengel, who knows Nelson Mandela better -- more than anybody else I have known, and had just written a wonderful book about him, will tell you that underneath this dignity and this aura of love, there was a tough guy. And I think it's one of the reasons he succeeded as well as he did.

COOPER: And Robyn Curnow in South Africa, we hear Nelson Mandela referred to as Madiba. His name actually was not Nelson. That was a name given to him by a schoolteacher on his first day of school. What's the significance behind the name Madiba? Explain that.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a clan name. It's a familiar name. It's a sense of belonging. And I think people used that across the clan, the various clans in this country.

Rohlislasla is his given name. Also remember that. And it means in literal translation troublemaker. And he has and was a troublemaker. A rebellious man. He was stubborn. He was pig-headed at times. Just look at the way he's fought for his health in the last few years. I mean, he did not go gently into the good night to paraphrase that poem. I mean, this was a man who fought and fought until the end. And he did.

I think what is also key, I think some of your analysts have referred to it, is also the sense that he also kept a lot of himself to himself. That time in prison, also cut himself off emotionally. To survive he had to have a mask, as one of his grandsons told me. And he found it very difficult coming out of prison. And his family found it very difficult when he came out of prison to connect. Had he had to be taught how to be a family man again.

And I think there was a lot of shifting and a lot of blame and a lot of emotions in the last 20 years as he tried to learn how to be a family man. Because he had cut off so much of that to survive emotionally within prison and, you know, within the psychological warfare of challenging apartheid.

COOPER: We're going to have more with Robyn coming up. Congressman Rangel, appreciate you being with us. Donna Brazile, as well.

Nelson Mandela leaves behind a large family. To them he was a husband, a father, a grandfather. Some of their memories ahead. More also about the reality of apartheid and South Africa today. What is happening there now? It's important we talk about that as well.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: His fight for South Africa's freedom obviously came at a great personal cost to Nelson Mandela and his family -- great personal cost to his family.

His 27 years in prison robbed him of time with his family that can never be recaptured. In the years after his release he watched his family grow into a sprawling clan. They're the ones who knew him as no one else could in many ways. We wish them strength obviously in the days ahead. Once again here's Robyn Curnow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Happy birthday to you.

CURNOW (voice-over): Nelson Mandela had a large family -- children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren -- who gathered each year to sing him happy birthday. In return he sometimes offered advice, some of it useful, some of it not, said his grandson Mbuso speaking to CNN in Mandela's house during his 94th birthday celebrations.

MBUSO MANDELA, NELSON MANDELA'S GRANDSON: It had been raining. So then he's looking outside and I'm sitting there quiet. I'm on my phone. He says, "You know, Mbuso, when I was young, I used to run outside naked in the rain. I think you should go and do that now." I started laughing. I started laughing.

CURNOW (on camera): What a great piece of advice.

(voice-over): Mandela was not only irreverent, humorous...

NELSON MANDELA, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: I am a Yankee.

CURNOW: ... and a lifelong rebel, but he also taught his children about humility, said his daughter Zindzi in an interview in 2010.

ZINDZI MANDELA, NELSON MANDELA'S DAUGHTER: I remember one of my first trips with him to the states when he was president, he was mobbed as usual by people. There was a woman that actually came close to collapsing, she was quite emotional. And he was very quiet in the car. And even overnight still very quiet, very reflective. And then he said, "Darling, did you see how emotional that woman was?" And he says, "I wonder why."

CURNOW: Zindzi Mandela was just a small child when her dad was sentenced to life in prison on Robben Island. She only saw him again when she was a teenager.

The original drafts of letters he wrote his children while in prison are now archived in the Mandela Foundation.

(on camera): This is written, "To my darlings." His two young daughters.

VERNE HARRIS, NELSON MANDELA FOUNDATION: Zindzi and Zeni, yes.

CURNOW: I love this line here where he -- he compliments Zeni for learning to cook chips, rice, meat and many other things. And then he says, which is the most poignant thing in 1969, "I'm looking forward to the day when I'll be able to enjoy all that she cooks." And he was only released in 1990.

HARRIS: A long way to go still. Yes.

CURNOW (voice-over): He wrote those letters in this cell. With the strain of worrying about his family growing up without him is evidenced in his prison diaries, transcribed by an archivist in 2008. Mandela recorded his dreams, a psychological record of the dread, the anxiety he felt.

RUTH MULLER, ARCHIVIST: "Dreamt of Kata (ph) falling into a ditch and injuring leg. Dreamt returning home late at night almost at dawn, embraced sickly Zami as she enters the back door of our Orlando home. Zeni is about two years and has swallowed a razor blade, which she vomits out."

CURNOW: But nearly three decades of being locked away from loved ones taught him how to bury those fears, said his granddaughter in 2012.

NDILEKA MANDELA, NELSON MANDELA'S GRANDDAUGHTER: He keeps his emotions very well guarded. And understandably so. You know, because for more than two decades, it's something that he could master. And yes -- and he keeps those close to his chest.

CURNOW: Inside his home, during his 94th birthday celebrations, his other granddaughters rearranged family photographs, reminders that when he eventually did come home, 27 years later, Nelson Mandela found his family still there, waiting for him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And from Johannesburg, Robyn Curnow is joining us along with Christiane Amanpour here, Rick Stengel and David Gergen.

Robyn, in South Africa today, the ANC is facing great divisions right now.

CURNOW: Absolutely. The ANC of today, of democracy 20 years on after Mandela became the first black president, it is in many people's view not the vision, not the party that Mandela envisioned.

There's a lot of corruption. There's a real sense that the party perhaps has lost its way. Many people still deeply devoted and still reliant on the fact that this was the liberation party. There's still an emotional attachment to the ANC.

But a lot of people here and within the ANC are starting to question where this party will take them in the next 20 years. And I think it's going to be a very difficult road, not only for the party but for this country, as it navigates, I suppose, the post-Mandela era. And you know, I think there are, depending who you speak to, there are challenges. There are complexities. And South Africans are very much aware of that.

COOPER: And sort of the young firebrand leader who's broken away from the ANC, created his own party.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's caused a huge amount of trouble, Julius Malema. They've kicked him out of the party, out of that wing. But you know, even President Obama, when he went to South Africa just a few months ago, talked about the great -- you know, the great transformation in all sorts of ways.

And there are many, many ways. South Africa for a while was the engine of Africa for a long time after Mandela and democracy came. But it's slowing down, obviously, the growth, and there is massive corruption, as Robyn said. And the president pointed that out. This is something that's, you know, really sort of harmed the fabric of society there. It is now one of the most unequal societies in the world.

And really, that hope of the rainbow nation, which Mandela and Mandelaism sustained, is being very, very, very, very stressed, and the fabric is tearing apart.

STENGEL: And they're new to democracy. We've been working at it for two centuries. And to go back into the days when I was working with him during the election in 1994, he was determined to win more than two-thirds of the vote so the ANC could amend the constitution. It is a one-party state. They saw it as a one-party state. They didn't see anything wrong with that.

When -- as democracy becomes more sophisticated, it has to become a multi-party state. And that is where the growing pains are going on in South Africa now. That's a real struggle for them.

COOPER: David -- David Gergen's with us, as well. We have a picture of Mandela with President Obama, then-Senator, I think, Obama in Washington, D.C.

David, do you think the legacy of Nelson Mandela and his ability to steer South Africans to democracy should be used as a template for other places where the few oppress the many?

GERGEN: Oh, yes, absolutely. And it's more than that, Anderson. First of all, I don't think Nelson Mandela should be held accountable for what happens after he dies. You know, other great leaders have been founders of a country. Our own George Washington. You know, we had a lot of problems in this country after he died. And yet we look upon him as this heroic figure who helped to found the country and set the example.

And I think in Nelson Mandela's case, he's a more transcendent figure. He transcends South Africa, and he belongs to the world. Because there's something about his story.

Joseph Campbell, you know, some years ago wrote a book called "The Hero's Journey." And it was about the notion that, in cultures all over the world all through the centuries, there has been a central story about someone -- a young man often or it could be a young woman -- who goes out into the world and faces enormous adversity, overcomes that adversity and comes back as this sort of moral leader.

And that's what's universal about Nelson Mandela. He had the hero's journey. And we haven't had -- seen someone like -- that's very rare we see someone like this. And I think he's inspired the world. I think people feel he doesn't belong only to South Africa. Of course he's their son. But he belongs to us. He belongs to all of us. And that's what makes him inspirational.

COOPER: It's -- it's an interesting point. We're going to continue the conversation.

Coming up next, there are so many iconic moments from Nelson Mandela' life. We're going take a look at the 1995 rugby World Cup. An extraordinary moment where he reached out to white Afrikaners in a very unique way, in a way that only he could have done. Why it was so much more than just a sporting event. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the life and death of Nelson Mandela. I want to focus on a moment when Nelson Mandela really showed South Africans of all colors a vision of what the new South Africa could be. It happened at the 1995 rugby World Cup. As Mandela once said, "Sport has the power to change the world." And this moment certainly changed many minds in South Africa about -- certainly in white South Africa about Nelson Mandela.

Here's Robyn Curnow once again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW (voice-over): A defining moment of that presidency would come during the 1995 rugby World Cup. After decades in isolation, South Africa's sporting teams could once again participate against the world's best. And the country's first democratically-elected president was there to cheer the Springboks on in Johannesburg.

RORY STEYN, MANDELA'S FORMER CHIEF OF SECURITY: When he walked out of that tunnel wearing Francois Pienaar's No. 6 jersey, that white, predominantly Afrikaans crowd, starting chanting his name. Watch the footage. As I say I get goose bumps.

I could not believe what I was hearing. How could this ever happen? And yet he just understood, fundamentally understood that that kind of a symbolic gesture of putting on a rugby jersey and identifying with a logo, a symbol, would go so much further than any speech or policy or, you know, political agenda ever. And he brought, I would estimate, 85 percent of white South Africans on board right there on that day.

FRANCOIS PIENAAR, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN RUGBY UNION PLAYER: It was magic. It was profound. It was incredibly necessary that the country and the people of South Africa looked each other in the eye and said, hey, mate, we're world champions.

CURNOW (on camera): What did Mandela say to you as that trophy was lifted?

PIONEER: Very special. Because when I walked up onto the stage to get the trophy from Madiba, his first words were, "Thank you very much, Francois, for what you have done for this country." And I became quite emotional, because I couldn't believe that he just said that to me.

And my reply was, "No, Mr. Mandela, thank you for what you've done."

STEYN: It's just one of those moments. You can't -- you can't script that. Hollywood can't write this stuff.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Incredible moment to see it again.

More now on the people who knew Nelson Mandela, not just as a resistance leader but before that. George Bizos was on the legal team that represented Mandela. They first met -- he first met a young Mandela in the late '40s when they were college classmates. I spoke with him by phone earlier tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Mr. Bizos, let me ask you, because you were involved in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. You were involved in the formation of the constitution in South Africa. How did Nelson Mandela not have hate in his heart after 27 years in prison? How did he not hate those who had taken his life away?

GEORGE BIZOS, FORMER MEMBER OF MANDELA'S LEGAL TEAM (via phone): Let me give you an anecdote. When he was sent to Robben Island in 1964, six weeks after his imprisonment, I went to visit him. I saw him being marched by no less than 12 Afrikaner warders, white Afrikaner warders.

I slipped through the first two -- two in front, two at the back, two on the left, two on the right -- and embraced him. This absolutely shook them, that a white man would embrace a black man.

And then he asked me how his wife was and how his daughters were. And then he said, "George, you know, I haven't been here very long. But it's -- I have forgotten my manners. I have not introduced you to my guard of honor."

COOPER: His guard of honor.

BIZOS: He proceeded -- he proceeded to introduce me by the first name and the surname, in Afrikaans.

COOPER: That's incredible.

BIZOS: And, you know, they were actually mortified. You know, "What is this business? We're not accustomed to black people behaving this way." Even though many of the warders would not treat black prisoners as human beings, he made it his business to treat the warders as human beings.

And being a lawyer, you know, they had their small problems and things that he would discuss with them. And he wanted to persuade the people of South Africa as a whole that they did not have to be afraid of fundamental change in the country.

COOPER: To meet that kind of hate with compassion, to give legal advice to the white Afrikaners who were oppressing him and jailing him is an extraordinary thing.

Mr. Bizos, I appreciate you spending some time with us tonight. Thank you.

BIZOS: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We're going to be right back with some final thoughts from our panel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Back with Christiane Amanpour, Rick Stengel and David Gergen.

It's remarkable to hear George Bizos right before the break.

AMANPOUR: It really is, and talking about how he was so polite to his guards. And some might think, well, this is just because he was a polite, aristocratic man.

But I think it's he was brilliant; he was a brilliant politician. He played the enemy. He got into the head of the enemy. He knew the white man. He spoke the white man's language, and he gradually wore them down. And by keeping his dignity, as his friends say, by keeping that dignity, he forced them to respect him. Forced the adversary to respect him.

COOPER: And forced -- forced them to treat him as a human being.

STENGEL: Yes. It was very tactical on his part. He was very proud that he'd learned Afrikaans in prison. He would often recite Afrikaans poetry with me. And when he first met with P.W. Botha, when he first met with de Klerk, he would drop rugby scores. He would show them that he understood that he could walk around in their shoes. It was very tactical, very strategic, and very effective.

COOPER: And David, I mean, an amazing political act of a politician. Really, a very astute politician.

GERGEN: Yes. As Christiane said, he was a wonderful politician underneath all that. But I think he was also very philosophical, Anderson, about life. And that came in prison, and those years are wonderfully interesting years.

You know, in the '90s, that when he was out he came to see Bill Clinton. And Clinton was going through the travail of Monica. And he came to the United States a day early so he could go spend time with Bill Clinton and counsel him about how to take all the pummeling that was coming his way.

And Clinton said later, he said -- he said what Nelson Mandela told him was, you know, "They can imprison you. Your enemies can go after you. What you cannot give them is your heart and soul. You must keep that for yourself. If you can do that, you can maintain your dignity."

COOPER: Wow. And he -- Nelson Mandela did that throughout his entire life.

David Gergen, thanks for joining us.

Rick Stengel, really fascinating, as well.

Christiane Amanpour, no doubt we'll be talking a lot in the days ahead.

That does it for us. Thanks for watching CNN's special coverage of the death of Nelson Mandela. It continues next with Wolf Blitzer.