Mandela Is a Symbol of Freedom: Former Amb. Frazer

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Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Carnegie Mellon University's Jendayi Frazer, former U.S. ambassador to South Africa, reflects on the legacy of Nelson Mandela. She speaks with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)

Currently a distinct professor at carnegie mellon university and also the director of the carnegie center for international policy and innovation.

Ambassador, thank you so much for joining us.

Tell us about meeting nelson mandela in person and what it was like.

I first met nelson mandela in 2001 at the white house in the oval office when he came to meet with president george walker bush.

I was, of course, like everybody else in the white house, all inspired -- awe-inspired.

He was frail at the time, but he was a very straight up guy, very tall, a magnificent presence.

And even though president bush, for instance, help him walk out to the rose garden to make a statement, when his body, the frailty of his body was not matched by the strength of his mind.

He was a man of very strong conviction.

He had clear ideas about global politics.

The meeting really was inspiring to me as a person who works political science and international affairs.

To see a guy with his experience and conviction, yet still his embrace and outreach to the united states, and frankly, to world leaders globally.

He at one time could deal with the president's vision at the same time dealing with the president of libya and the he ad of the palestinian authority.

He was a really man who reached widely for the purpose of bringing peace to this world.

Ambassador frazer, you have met with many leaders from all over the world, particularly in africa.

You have experience in kenya, zimbabwe, somalia.

What did nelson mandela mean for africa?

Nelson mandela is the symbol of freedom in africa.

Many of the people across the continent rallied behind the anti-apartheid struggle, a very long struggle.

Remember, the national african congress actually started in 1914, and the country did not move to nonracial democratic governance until my 294, which was always the goal of the anc.

And whether one is from nigeria or tanzania or closer to home, mozambique, across africa people rallied behind the anc in that struggle.

I think president mandela stood for freedom, and he now stands for integrity and perseverance.

The continent needs to move towards that in terms of the next phase of the struggle, which is political freedom has been achieved now.

Economic freedom is necessary.

Speak a little about your own experience in relation to the perspective of nelson mandela, particularly when it comes to nonviolent protest, and in violence in africa, as well is the work you have done combating aids in africa.

I really respect president mandela, again, because of his conviction.

He was a person who started as he did, in terms of nonviolent struggle against apartheid regime, and at some point he realized the level of repression of the national party required a more robust response, which was moving towards arms struggle.

Yet when he found a leader like de klerk who could negotiate with the national party that was now ready after the mass demonstration movement in south africa, which was ready to negotiate, he said put down your arms.

He was a man who looked at the necessary task for the moment at hand.

I think his leadership also came out with the effort to end the scourge of hiv and aids in south africa and across africa as a whole.

He himself said he was slow to realize how deep the crisis of the aids pandemic was, yet when he did he stood up and was a leader and spoke out forthrightly about hiv and aids.

He was the type of leader that when we put together the president's emergency plan for aids relief under george w. bush's administration, one of the key card key area -- one of the key criteria was to find leaders like nelson mandela and others who would speak forthrightly about the challenges, make sure there was no stigma in society, and address it to ra special antiviral drugs.

Ambassador frazer, what you take away as their reaction to nelson mandela's death.

Robert moog gotugabe, in zimbabwe, a colonial past.

Many would say that robert mugabe and nelson mandela, there was a little bit of a rivalry there, particularly on mugabe's part because when he became president of zimbabwe he was wrong respected globally -- he was well respected globally.

His economy was starting to fail.

It was not a redistribution of land.

He then blamed it on the white population and dispossessed them of the land.

President mandela when he came to power essentially compromised , and he was very clear he was going to move more slowly on the economic front so that he could get some security to especially the white population there, but there are still these challenges of land reform in south africa that needs to be addressed, but nelson mandela's whole demeanor of reconciliation, of reaching out to one's former enemy and also the philosophy of the anc political party of a nonracial south africa, i think, will lead to very different choices, or lead to very different choices between robert mugabe and nelson

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

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