1. ITV Report

Sir Trevor McDonald reflects on historic Mandela interview

Former ITV News presenter Sir Trevor McDonald was the first journalist to interview Nelson Mandela after his release from prison in 1990.

The interview took place just three days after Mr Mandela was freed.

And as Sir Trevor reports, "no political leader has had a more positive and dramatic impact on future of his country than Nelson Mandela":

"Arriving in South Africa to report on this momentous event, you could sense that change was in the air," he recalled.

Excitement grew in South Africa when a date for Mandela's release was set. Credit: ITV News
After almost 27 years in jail, Nelson Mandela walks free from Victor Verster prison near Cape Town on 11 February 1990. Credit: Reuters

Recounting his interview, Sir Trevor said: "His mood was one of reconciliation, not resentment."

"During the course of my questioning, never once did Nelson Mandela promote the cause of black South Africans above that of whites.

Nor did he consider himself the chief decision-maker," Sir McDonald said.

"Always, he said, the ANC would decide."

Nelson Mandela told Sir Trevor McDonald he was ' not a prophet but an optimist' Credit: ITV News

"We are ready for honourable compromises, without surrendering our principles," Mr Mandela told Sir Trevor.

"As long as that compromise is in the interest not only of one population group, but for the country as a whole," he explained.

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