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Poet, diplomat reflect on Mandela's life and legacy

Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 01:39

Dec. 8 - Poet Maya Angelou and former Secretary of State James Baker remember Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid on CBS' Face the Nation. Linda So reports.

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Nelson Mandela left his mark on people around the world. Poet Maya Angelou remembers when the anti-apartheid hero visited her and her husband while they were living in Egypt. Speaking on CBS' Face the Nation, Angelou says she was surprised at Mandela's kindness to her husband, a South African freedom fighter from a rival political group. SOUNDBITE: POET MAYA ANGELOU, SAYING: "I had been so used to these rivals, arguing and shouting in the living room, and shouting in the street against each other... But when Mr. Mandela came, he never had a cross word to say to anyone. I was amazed. I had never seen South Africans who were that kind. He had a compliment to give to everybody, including my housekeeper and the doorman. It was amazing, a gentle giant he was." Angelou wrote this poem celebrating Mandela's life and legacy. She says the U.S. State Department called her about a year and half ago with the request. SOUNDBITE: POET MAYA ANGELOU, SAYING: "But I also had to agree I would not speak about it or release it until 48 hours until after he was actually dead and I agreed." Following his release from prison, Mandela went on to become South Africa's first black president. Former Secretary of State James Baker remembers a conversation he had with F.W. de Klerk, the last white president before apartheid was toppled in South Africa. SOUNDBITE: FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE JAMES BAKER, SAYING: "At the end of the our meeting he called me into a room just the two of us and he said let me tell you something Mr. Secretary, I am going to be the last white president of South Africa. That was a startling statement at the time if you think back to 1990." Mandela's remarkable ability to forgive is what many say led him to greatness.

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Poet, diplomat reflect on Mandela's life and legacy

Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 01:39