Nightly News   |  December 09, 2013

Carter formed ‘instant friendship’ with Mandela

NBC’s Brian Williams spoke with former President Jimmy Carter in Johannesburg, where Carter recalled meeting Nelson Mandela for the first time.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> four american presidents will be here to honor and remember nelson mandela . that's only happened once before when four presidents traveled to jordan after the death of king hussein in 1999 .

>>> former president carter was the first of the four to arrive here. earlier today i had a chance to sit down with him in johannesburg as he recalled meeting his friend nelson mandela for the first time.

>> i had a chance to meet with him and winnie. he reminded us that our daughter amy was arrested three times for demonstrating against apartheid. obviously that formed an instant friendship.

>> do you have concerns about a post nelson mandela south africa even though he was out of a policy-making role, as you know his presence, his aura made for an era here.

>> i don't think there is any doubt that since nelson left office the harmony between black and white people here has gone down. nelson was dealing with it in an inspirational way, appealing to black and white people on an equal basis. i'm not sure his successors have been able to do it.

>> what is it about the sadness? we knew this day would come. he was a 95-year-old man. yet the signage on the streets thanking him. there is a sign asking how did he change your world? it seems so sad here to have him gone.

>> it is. you know, i have been impressed with the south african attitude toward nelson's death. as you have just mentioned one is sadness. the other is celebration. you know, they are happy, bright, vigorous people on the streets singing songs of joy about what his life meant.

>> president clinton described him as almost on par with gandhi . others have said he joins gandhi and king as some of the majorures of the l ast hundred years. where do you put him?

>> i would sagy that gandhi , king, mandela along with mother theresa who you look at with great inspiration. he'll go down as one of the leading people of the century.

>> former president jimmy carter in south africa today, remembering his true and dear friend nelson