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Nelson Mandela Dead at 95; Protecting Crops From Ice Storm; Charlie Rangel Talks Mandela.

Aired December 6, 2013 - 11:30   ET



NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the aftermath of the broadcast, as the pressure that would ultimately free Mandela mounted on the South African government, Hollingsworth got a letter from his concert partners, the African National Congress and the Anti-Apartheid movement.

TONY HOLLINGSWORTH, PRODUCER: It said certainly it mark as landmark in our history. The greatest single event we have undertaken in support of the trouble. Now, we can certainly look forward with to the future with enormously received revived hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Best birthday we've ever been to. Thanks for having us.


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And Nischelle joins me live.

He was freed on your birthday?

TURNER: He was, February 11th. And I was telling today, it was always a special thing for me. I have a necklace with the South African colors and his face and the date. I got that when I was young.

BANFIELD: The numbers of stars that came out immediately with the incredible statements, beautiful statements. Bono's made me cry.

TURNER: It did. It did.

BANFIELD: It's amazing.

TURNER: I have it here. I'll read it to you. Bono said, "Nelson Mandela showed us how to love rather than hate. He put his family, country, time, his life on the line. Stubborn until the end for all the right reasoned. It felt like he very nearly out-stared his maker. Today finally, today he blinked. And some of us cried and our eyes were opened so much because of him."

BANFIELD: The star issue, I couldn't figure out why the stars had all glommed onto this cause so early on.

TURNER: It was the apartheid movement as well. I think it started an awareness in Hollywood in the '80s. And they started to glam on to his story. And the 70th birthday celebration at Wimbley Stadium, that was an iconic moment. Years after that concert, Nelson Mandela he came out and says, I believe that that had a lot to do with me being released just a couple years later.

BANFIELD: That's amazing. I hear the song --


TURNER: Exactly.

BANFIELD: And I heard them singing it outside his house and I started to sway.

TURNER: Exactly.

BANFIELD: Love it.

Nischelle, great. Great work. Thank you. I appreciate that.

Another celebrity paying tribute to Nelson Mandela. Morgan Freeman called him, "A man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength and unyielding resolve." And he played Mandela in the movie "Invictus." We'll talk later about how Mandela used sports to bring people together.

We've been telling you a lot about a big ice storm that's hitting the midsection of this country. And what you might not realize is that it is threatening citrus crops. We'll tell you what's being done to product the crops and what that might mean for your breakfast table.


BANFIELD: An Arkansas man has been killed in a large ice storm that is now stretching across the belly of this country, all the way from Dallas to Cincinnati. What had been abominable weather in a lot of places has now been replaced with snow and sleet and freezing rain. And that means danger.

Roads are especially hazardous. In fact, when you take a look at pictures like that, you can see exactly why. Schools have been closed all the way from Texas to Tennessee. And there's more of this coming. So while you may be girding for it, bear down. Another storm system is going to move in. Even parts of California are facing freeze warnings.

Casey Wian is in an Orange Grove in California.

I always worry about the crops and protecting them. What are they doing out there?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly, a concern. It's a very balmy comparative 36 degrees and out in this area it got down as low as 23 degrees. So some of things they're doing, we were out with a grower last night who is turning on his wind machines. These are big diesel-powered wind machines. Each of these machines cost about $40,000, but it's well worth the expense to raise the temperatures in these groves. Another thing they're doing, we can show you right in front of me, they saturate these groves. By keeping them wet, that actually helps raise the temperature one or two degrees. And every degree really matters.

The good news, growers saying they do not expect any significant damage from the freeze that we've had over the last couple of days. You can look at some of the fruit. California oranges have a much thicker skin than Florida oranges. They have a higher sugar content too, so that protects the fruit.

They do expect some damage when they start cutting fruit open later next week to assess the damage. But to answer your main question, they don't expect the damage is going to be significant enough to really impact supplies and drive up prices at the supermarket -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: Fingers are still crossed.

That's so interesting. I'm glad you showed me that. I had no idea that they saturated the ground to get the couple of degrees.

Casey Wian live for us.

WIAN: It's a little counter intuitive, but it really works.

BANFIELD: Yeah. Thank you for that. I learn something new every day.

So Nelson Mandela managed to pull off something that so many politicians try to do and fail miserably at, put on some sports hat or sports shirt and manage to get opponents together and maybe, more importantly, endear yourself to millions. We're going to explore that in just a moment.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's Mr. Mandela, Mr. Nelson Mandela, a free man taking his first steps into South Africa.

NELSON MANDELA, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: We have seen at last achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all of our people from the continued bondable (ph) of poverty, deprivation, starvation and other discrimination. Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will obtain the spirit, the oppression of one by another, can suffer the indignity to things to come of this world.

I have said it, the idea of a democratic and peaceful parity in which all people live together in harmony and with equal opportunity. This is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve, but if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.


BANFIELD: In the final years of Mandela's life, private plans were being made between the government and military and his family as they were preparing for a fitting farewell for a man of his greatness. Thousands, detailed accounts of his first 10 days. I should say thousands are going to congregate, to get together to commemorate this great man.

It's going to take 10 days. It's a very specific unfolding of the ceremonial remembrance. We got a look into the calendar. Sunday will mark a day of prayer and reflection. No public events until this coming Tuesday. That's five full days after the death of Mandela. That's when tens of thousands of people are expected to converge on a soccer stadium for a memorial service.

And we have just received word that President Obama will travel to be there. And beginning on Wednesday Mandela's body will lay in state in Pretoria and then he will be on the grounds of his childhood home.

Here is something you might not know about Nelson Mandela. He was an amateur boxer. I love that picture. He was also a long-distance runner. And what's more, he learned that in prison. Sports can be a major weapon against racism. He didn't invent using athletic competition to unit people, but he came close to perfecting it in 1995 when he brought his nation together through the World Cup of rugby.

The nearly all-white crowds cheering and chanting his name as he wore the jersey onto the field. Look at that smile. Love that. Even in 1990, on his first visit to New York, look at that, he rocked the crowd at Yankee's Stadium wearing a Yankee's hat and jacket and they went wild when he declared, quote, "I am a Yankee." Great picture.

Nelson Mandela's passion was politics. And he made his mark with leaders around the world using wit and humor. Congressman Charlie Rangel met him and shares his reflections, coming up next.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was to protest against apartheid.


BANFIELD: The first black president of the United States of America reflecting on some very personal inspiration from the struggles of Nelson Mandela.

But if Barack Obama was moved to speak out, my next guest says Mandela left him speechless. If you know my next guest, that's saying is something big.

Charlie Rangel, long time Democratic congressman from Harlem, joining me live in the studios. Good to see you today. Great to see you today.

I heard you on the morning show this morning. You said something like I'm embarrassed to say, as a kid, I knew very little about this guy and I knew very little about Africa because Africa was something you said when you wanted to insult someone. That really stuck with me. Tell me how that progressed.

REP. CHARLIE RANGEL, (D), NEW YORK: Well, you know, it just wasn't that the slave owners wanted to cut off all connection with pride and dignity and substitute it with something that would be inferior, but I went around the world talking about color during the civil rights movement.

And Brazilians and Argentineans of African descent could be insulted that I even raised the question, they were so embarrassed even though they were darker than I am. And so someone said earlier that you know America was the last ones to recognize that Mandela was not a terrorist but he was a freedom fighter.

BANFIELD: Only a few years ago, we took him off the watch list.

RANGEL: Still they said so Nelson really gave more appreciation to the Castros and to the other people. I said that's not so. That's not so. Nelson Mandela knew racism in its rawest form and he recognized that our great country had symptom of it.

BANFIELD: Let me ask you this. If a guy like that, who has gone through the worst of the worst when it comes to racism, lost a quarter of his life and came out of it with the notion that the only way to the finish line is through reconciliation, what's wrong with us? We have a race problem here. It's not as bad here as it was there. What can we get from him? What can we do to fix what we've got?

RANGEL: Two things. God spent a lot of time with Nelson Mandela. And there's no way in the world, with all the fighting I've done, that I would have thought that this guy, after 20 years in prison, could become president. So whatever spiritual sainthood-type of destiny he's going to, that hasn't happened in our country. We are so far behind that we don't admit that we have a problem. And so if you don't admit you have a racial problem -- and people will say, how dare you talk about it, you've got a black president.

Well, I tell you this. The greatest contribution that any son Mandela has made to people of color in this country is that they have the destroyed any myths that people from Africa are inferior. And I said earlier, how could you instill this in a black kid that has no knowledge of an African history? Well, you may not be able to do it in terms of literature but when a kid looks at Nelson Mandela and says, mom, don't I look just like him.

BANFIELD: Saying that about the president.

I've got one minute left. I need to you comment on my colleague. Christiane Amanpour said Mandela was Washington and Lincoln all wrapped up into one. RANGEL: Anytime somebody doesn't mind dying for a cause that involves freedom, not for himself but the concept that everybody would be the beneficiary of it, that person is really special, and the people mentioned had that quality.

BANFIELD: All right. So take this back to Capitol Hill. Let's start pushing this country towards the notion of reconciliation and forgiveness, no matter who you are and what color you are. Maybe we can get today if we use today as a celebration and a positive message instead of a mourning period.

RANGEL: I think there's a little bit of Nelson Mandela in all of us.


BANFIELD: I would love to think that.

Thank you.

RANGEL: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Nice to see you. Have a great weekend.

Congressman Rangel, always good to see you.

Be sure to tune into "The Situation Room" today at 5:00. We have additional spectacular guests lined up. Wolf Blitzer is going to talk to former President Bill Clinton about his very personal relationship with Nelson Mandela. That's coming up again today 5:00 with Wolf Blitzer.

Thanks for watching, everyone. A special edition of "AROUND THE WORLD", highlighting the life and the death and the very special gifts that man gave us, Nelson Mandela. That starts right after this quick break.



MANDELA: I have no doubt that we'll reach the goal of liberating the black people of this country within our lifetime.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Nelson Mandela, speaking after his release from 27 years in prison in South Africa. His conviction, his courage changed the world. Mr. Mandela went from freedom fighter to political prisoner to president.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: His message of reconciliation, not vengeance, inspired people everywhere after he negotiated a peaceful end to the brutal segregation of black South Africans and forgiveness for what the white government had done, oppressed them and imprisoned him. Today, the world is remembering an icon.