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Poet, diplomat reflect on Mandela's life and legacy

Sunday, Dec 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.

Poet, diplomat reflect on Mandela's life and legacy

Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 - 01:39

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