Mandela 'Understood How to Reach the Human Spirit'

Donna Brazile discusses the man she knew for many years.
3:00 | 12/06/13

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Transcript for Mandela 'Understood How to Reach the Human Spirit'
Let's bring in donna brazile. Before she managed presidential campaigns, cut her political organizing teeth as part of the free south africa movement in THE 1980s. Donna, thank you for joining us. You knew mandela for many years. Tell us about your friend, the man who inspired you. He was a humble man, has many have mentioned. He was a man of grace, tremendous courage. But he was also a human being who was not afraid to tell you about his own fears. Nelson mandela once said that courage was not the absence of fear, but acting in spite of it. He was just someone who wanted to bring people together, unify. As you know president clinton was a personal hero of nelson mandela. And during the 1992-'93 campaign, he wanted to come for the inaugural after visiting the united states in the summer of 1990. And I was chosen as one of his staff people to help out with bringing him around to several of the inaugural balls. He was curious. He loved people. And although we were always concerned about his health, you know, we were tiring him out. He wanted to do more and more and more. It was a great honor to go to south africa to train some of the organizers who participated in the first election. I want to ask you about that. He was a pretty fierce political organizer, as well. We just saw the pictures of the millions and millions of people on the roads in south africa, waiting to vote. And you were there to help train those election workers. What did you learn from him? Well, david jenkins, the then-new york city mayor, they sent a team of us over there. And mandela said I want you to find the people who are unlikely to participate because they've never done it before. And he reminded us from our own experience in this country. He said, these people will likely be afraid. So, encourage them. He understood how to reach the human spirit. And he wanted us to be positive and say, look, we're trying to bring everyone out. This is a multiracial country. We want to build a rainbow. And we heard the rainbow. And we remember what reverend jackson taught us. We said, let's go out and find everybody. I know you spoke to the u.S. Ambassador of south africa last night about the memorials and tributes coming up. What can you tell us? As you can imagine, patrick is extremely tired right now. He hasn't slept much. But I told him, I said, you better get ready to bring a lot of people in. I know the president of the united states and perhaps our former presidents. Patrick understands that there will be many activists and many others, just ordinary people who knew nelson mandela, who will want to come to pay tribute and celebrate his life and legacy. He touched so many personally and by his example. Donna brazile, thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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