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  • As you know, the old age African saying, 2

  • "If you wanna go fast, you go alone, 3

  • but if you wanna go far, we go together." 4

  • You know my favorite African saying is? 5

  • What? 6

  • If you think you're too small to do something, 7

  • you've never spent a night with a mosquito. 8

  • (laughs) 9

  • That's a good one, that's a good one. 10

  • When you were the grandson 11

  • of Nelson Mandela, you walk in the shadow of a giant, 12

  • but Ndaba Mandela is creating his own path 13

  • as a leader and advocate. 14

  • Ndaba Mandela, thank you so much 15

  • for coming all the way from South Africa 16

  • to our studio here in New York city. 17

  • It's a pleasure and an honor. 18

  • What is it that you're here 19

  • that you would like to share with us? 20

  • Today I would like to share my story with you, 21

  • a message of love, peace, and unity. 22

  • You don't have to worry about the Coronavirus, 23

  • we will get over it. 24

  • We will continue to impact the world 25

  • and inspiring young people to unite 26

  • and build a better world. 27

  • Nelson Mandela 28

  • was South Africa's first democratically elected president. 29

  • The father of the Rainbow nation 30

  • was a civil rights icon, who spent 27 years 31

  • of his life behind bars, fighting for equal rights 32

  • against South Africa's inhumane apartheid regime, 33

  • which prided itself on extreme separation of white, 34

  • black and brown citizens. 35

  • We have made it very clear in our policy 36

  • that South Africa is a country of many races. 37

  • There is room for all the various races in this country. 38

  • Under the harsh apartheid regime 39

  • which began in 1948, the darker your skin color 40

  • meant the worst quality of life you had. 41

  • Nelson Mandela and other 42

  • South African civil rights leaders fought 43

  • to end this injustice. 44

  • And in 1964, Mandela and many of his comrades 45

  • in the African National Congress 46

  • were sentenced to life in prison 47

  • by the apartheid regime for conspiracy 48

  • to overthrow the government. 49

  • From 1964 to 1982, they were locked inside 50

  • the brutal Robben Island Prison, off the coast of Cape town. 51

  • My grandfather truly believed in humanity, 52

  • didn't care about race, color, or creed. 53

  • In Robben Island, there was a rule 54

  • that was set for him specifically. 55

  • My grandfather taught himself 56

  • and became fluent in reading and writing Afrikaans, 57

  • the language of the enemy. 58

  • One of the things he says is, 59

  • "In order to defeat your enemy, 60

  • you must work with your enemy, 61

  • because then he becomes your partner 62

  • and maybe even your friend at a later stage." 63

  • When the wardens, right, would receive letters 64

  • from their loved ones, some of them came straight 65

  • out of high school, they were young men, 66

  • they couldn't interpret what 67

  • the hardcore straight language from their parents was. 68

  • So Mandela would take those letters 69

  • and actually translate it for the warden. 70

  • And the warden would be so touched 71

  • that he would smuggle an extra couple of slices 72

  • of bread for Mandela, an extra blanket for Mandela, 73

  • maybe a newspaper for Mandela, whatever the case may be. 74

  • And when the authorities would find that out, 75

  • they would be so mad, right? 76

  • That they would change the guard immediately. 77

  • Even when they changed the next guard, 78

  • Mandela would find a way to connect to that guard, right? 79

  • And the same thing would end up happening. 80

  • So they had to put a rule that no guard 81

  • on Robben Island could guard Nelson Mandela 82

  • for more than three months at a time. 83

  • Between 1982 and 1988, 84

  • Mandela and some of his ANC comrades 85

  • were moved from Robben Island to Pollsmoor Prison 86

  • in Cape town. 87

  • But by 1988, Mandela was moved again in the city 88

  • but inside Victor Verster Prison, 89

  • which was a home that was surrounded by guards. 90

  • It was during his stay here where 91

  • he first met his eight year old grandson, Ndaba. 92

  • So my parents told me, 93

  • "We're going to visit your grandfather in jail." 94

  • And so as an eight year old, 95

  • I had a typical image of what the jail was like, 96

  • you know, concrete bars, cops, wardens, etc. 97

  • But when we got there, it was a normal house. 98

  • They were trying to break them down mentally. 99

  • To say, 100

  • "Nelson Mandela, you're an old man now. 101

  • How about you spend the rest of your days 102

  • away from political life with your family 103

  • enjoying these days, and we will make sure 104

  • that you live the rest of your life in luxury. 105

  • But you need to denounce your organization with the ANC, 106

  • you need to denounce your (mumbles) you're working with." 107

  • And of course we know Nelson Mandela never caved in. 108

  • So when I got there, there was a swimming pool. 109

  • I never had a swimming pool at home, right? 110

  • I met a chef for the very first time, 111

  • I never knew what a chef was, 112

  • we had the most amazing food, 113

  • And of course we met the man himself, 114

  • and he was so happy and proud to meet us. 115

  • And that was the first time I had an idea, 116

  • I was inspired. 117

  • That moment I said, 118

  • "I wanna be like this man, I wanna go to jail." 119

  • Because I thought this was jail. 120

  • So it wasn't, I wasn't gonna be a leader, 121

  • It wasn't, I'm not gonna be a fireman, it was, 122

  • "I'm gonna go." I'm going to jail 123

  • so I can live like this man. 124

  • And the crowd getting excited. 125

  • There's Mr Mandela, Mr. Nelson Mandela, 126

  • a free man taking his first steps into a new South Africa." 127

  • In February 1990, 128

  • Nelson Mandela was released from prison 129

  • after long negotiations with the apartheid government. 130

  • And a salute from Mr. Nelson Mandela, 131

  • his wife Winnie, greeting the people outside 132

  • the fences of the Victor Verster Prison. 133

  • This year is a very special year 134

  • because it's 30 years since Madiba 135

  • was released from prison, 136

  • you know, 27 years behind bars. 137

  • Where were you in the exact moment, in February of 1990 138

  • when he walked out and he's got his fist in the air, 139

  • where were you? 140

  • What was that moment like for you? 141

  • I was right there my friend. 142

  • Oh wow. I was right there my friend, 143

  • I was right there in my man. 144

  • You know, my first was in the air my friend, 145

  • do you understand what I'm saying? 146

  • I was just in awe seeing so many people celebrating 147

  • the release of this man. 148

  • Aunties, babies, cats and dogs were in the streets dancing. 149

  • The world was dancing, it was a great moment, 150

  • not just for South Africa, 151

  • but for the world to see justice prevail, you know? 152

  • It was an amazing moment, 153

  • so when you see moments like this, how can you not 154

  • be an optimist? I have fought 155

  • very firmly against white domination, 156

  • I have fought very firmly against black domination, 157

  • I cherish the idea of a new South Africa. 158

  • In 1994, 159

  • Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa. 160

  • (crowd claps and cheers) 161

  • When Ndaba was 11, he moved in with his grandfather 162

  • who was serving his only term in office. 163

  • We moved in when I was 11 years old 164

  • and you know, the first couple of years 165

  • we didn't really have a grandfather, 166

  • we didn't go for walks in the park, 167

  • we didn't go watch movies or go bowling, right? 168

  • Because he's the president, 169

  • he's up and down doing his work. 170

  • But whenever we did have an opportunity to share a meal, 171

  • you know, dinner or lunch, 172

  • he would actually talk to me and say, 173