TODAY   |  December 08, 2013

South Africa continues to be plagued with inequality

In South Africa, a reporter told of a widening gap between the rich and the poor, as well as high youth unemployment. TODAY’s Lester Holt interviews NBC’s Charlayne Hunter-Gault.

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

>> charlene hunter galt is an nbc news special correspondent who has lived here in south africa and interviewed mandela on a number of occasions. great to be with you.

>> great to be here, especially here.

>> an amazing moment to be here. you interviewed nelson mandela when he was first released from prison. talk to him about how people review him as a mythical character. he tried to downplay that. it makes me wonder how he would view all of this.

>> let me say how nostalgic it is. i was just across the street when he first got out of prison. i think he'd actually be pleased. he's a very modest man, but i think he also enjoyed the fact that people appreciated him and what he was trying to do and his message. and i think he'd be thrilled by this actually.

>> look around you, look at all the young people here that were born after he was released from prison, after he left office.

>> we called them the born frees.

>> i wonder if they've gotten the message, if in your view they appreciate what a different south africa this is from what their parents experienced.

>> i think many of them appreciate it. you see white people out there walking unafraid with their little babies and everything. that's a big difference. you see interracial couples . i think a lot of these young people -- it will be interesting to find out how many of them don't have jobs. because that's the biggest challenge in this country, joblessness among young people who are the largest cohort of unemployed.

>> i was going to mention that. there is a widening gap here between black and white . as we celebrate nelson mandela 's life and give him the credit for leading this country to democracy, are we too obfusive in our praise when we look at the progress.

>> we have to separate our praise for mandela with what's going on in this country. there is a widening gap between the poor and the not poor. some of the black people in this country have achieved middle and upper middle class status. the issue is it hasn't trickled down to the vast majority. i think the real concern here today, not just this moment, of course because they're celebrating madiba, but the real concern is how is this country going to accommodate the vast majority of unemployed, undereducated and many uneducated who in that 18 to 35 age group .

>> charlene hunter galt, great to see you.

>> so happy to be here.