Former US President Barack Obama speaks with his half sister Auma Obama, in Kogelo, Kenya, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo Brian Inganga)

Obama to deliver Mandela address in likely rebuke to Trump

Former U.S. President Barack Obama Monday praised Kenya’s president and opposition leader for working together but said this East African country must do more to end corruption.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama is set to make his highest-profile speech since leaving office, urging people around the world to respect human rights and other values under threat in an address marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela’s birth.

While not directly mentioning his successor, President Donald Trump, Obama’s speech on Tuesday in South Africa is expected to counter many of Trump’s policies, rallying people to keep alive the ideas that Mandela worked for including democracy, diversity and good education for all.

An estimated 14,000 people were gathering at a cricket stadium in Johannesburg for the speech, which will be streamed online. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Mandela’s widow Graca Machel will introduce Obama for the annual Nelson Mandela Lecture.

“Just by standing on the stage honouring Nelson Mandela, Obama is delivering an eloquent rebuke to Trump,” said John Stremlau, professor of international relations at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, who called the timing auspicious as the commitments that defined Mandela’s life are “under assault” in the U.S. and elsewhere.

“Yesterday we had Trump and Putin standing together, now we are seeing the opposing team: Obama and Mandela.”

This is Obama’s first visit to Africa since leaving office in early 2017. He stopped earlier this week in Kenya, where he visited the rural birthplace of his late father.

Related: Obama exits the presidency voicing optimism for the future

Related: Michelle Obama talks social media, raising daughters at Vancouver event

Obama’s speech is expected to highlight how the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was imprisoned for 27 years, kept up his campaign against what appeared to be insurmountable odds to end apartheid, South Africa’s harsh system of white minority rule.

Mandela, who was released from prison in 1990 and became South Africa’s first black president four years later, died in 2013, leaving a powerful legacy of reconciliation and diversity along with a resistance to inequality, economic and otherwise.

Obama has shied away from public comment on Trump, whose administration has reversed or attacked notable achievements of his predecessor. The U.S. under Trump has withdrawn from the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal while trying to undercut the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare.”

Instead of commenting on politics, Obama’s speech was drawing on broader themes and his admiration for Mandela, whom America’s first black president saw as a mentor.

When Obama was a U.S. senator he had his picture taken with the newly freed Mandela. After Obama became president he sent a copy of the photo to Mandela, who kept it in his office. Obama also made a point of visiting Mandela’s prison cell and gave a moving eulogy at Mandela’s memorial service in 2013, saying the South African leader’s life had inspired him.

Many South Africans view Obama as a successor to Mandela because of his groundbreaking role and his support for racial equality in the U.S. and around the world.

Moses Moyo, a 32-year-old Uber driver, was among the thousands lining up for Obama’s speech. “I think he’ll speak about how Mandela changed the system here in South Africa, how he ended apartheid and gave hope for the poor and encouraged education,” he said. Many people in South Africa are discouraged by corruption, he added, as the ruling African National Congress struggles to maintain the legacy that Mandela and others established.

___

Andrew Meldrum, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Okanagan and Shuswap blossom at Communities in Bloom awards

District of Sicamous, City of Armstrong double winners at B.C. awards gala; Lumby also a winner

Internet speed testing implemented in the CSRD

Test results will be tracked to find areas where improvement is needed.

Sicamous Eagles lose two on the road

Despite late offensive surges, the Sicamous squad came up short in Spokane and the Beaver Valley.

What financial commitments do you want from candidates running for prime minister?

As the federal election quickly approaches, the Observer took to the streets… Continue reading

In photos: Magician entertains in downtown Salmon Arm

Children of Salmon Arm were treated to the wonders of magician Leif… Continue reading

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Former South Okanagan resident found dead in Alberta

Candace Deleeuw was reported missing Sept. 16

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Latimer surveyed much of Summerland

Civil engineer was also responsible of community’s irrigation system

Caught on Camera: Boat catches fire at Okanagan marina

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, no injuries were reported as a result of the blaze

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Most Read