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Many guests on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight had a personal connection with the great Nelson Mandela.
Here are Lionel Richie, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Idris Elba, Raffi and the Right Honourable Joe Clark sharing stories about the late Madiba.
Lionel Richie, on meeting Mandela:
"There's a room full of people who want to meet him, and he spots me. And he walks over, and he put his hand on my shoulder and he said, 'Young man, I want to thank you so much for writing the music and lyrics that you wrote, because it got me through many days of being in prison.' And I started crying on his shoulder. He just grabbed me like a dad. And I lost it."
Idris Elba, from Sept. 2013, talking about preparing to play him in the movie Mandela:
"The sacrifice. I really connected to the sacrifice. I've been telling people what I did, when I went to South Africa, what I did is immediately I went to Robben Island and asked if I could stay there. And I persisted and eventually they said I could stay in a cell, for one night, on the wing that Mandela... I couldn't stay in his cell but I could stay one of the nights. And I was in that cell all night and it was when I realized, 'This is the sacrifice that he made.' After all the activism chants have gone and the flags have gone, there is this man in this room and his liberty has been taken away."
Arnold Schwarzenegger on Mandela's sense of forgiveness:
"I'm fascinated about how he was able to go out of prison and the first thing to go and have lunch with the widow of the man that put him behind bars for all these years, and I asked him 'How could you do that?' And he was just talking about how important it is not to think about revenge at that time, not to think about your own pain that you experience, but to think about the good of the whole country. And it became very clear to him that in order to heal the country, he had to go and show tolerance and inclusion and forgiveness."
Raffi, who wrote and performed the original song "Turn This World Around" for Mandela:
"That was something, singing 'Turn This World Around' for him. He inspired it, that was at Ryerson, 2011, November, two months after 9/11. What a moment that was for me. He is such a hero for me. You're in captivity 26 years, you come out stronger, your captors feel like they are the ones held hostage. Now, you've got to study at the foot of that guy."
The Right Honourable Joe Clark on a special meeting with Mandela:
"When Mr. Mandela came out, two weeks out of prison to visit the African National Congress in exile. He walked into that room, and there were only about 100 or so of us there, most of them ANC veterans. And he spoke briefly and then there were some questions from them. And the first one, naturally, from a grizzled veteran of the wars, was critical of the Afrikaans people who had held Mr. Mandela captive. And he looked at his supporters and he said, 'We have to remember how hard this is for them, how hard this is for our captors, for the people who'd kept us down.' I’ve never seen an act of generosity like that, a mentality of generosity again. And, you know, it is the case that sometimes the actions and statements of a person reveal the inner character. That was Nelson Mandela."