Obama forgoes visit with mandela

Obama forgoes visit with mandela

Instead, obama met with members of the mandela family in johannesburg on saturday. The meeting was described by the weiben haus as purely private.

Obama again praised mandela’s historic achievements. His fight against apartheid (racial segregation) in sud africa is an example and a “beacon” for the whole world, he said after speaking with sudanese president jacob zuma. Mandela’s struggle “was a personal inspiration to me, it was an inspiration to the world, and it still is”.

Zuma drew a historical parallel between obama and mandela, saying they were both “the first black presidents in their respective countries”. They realized the dream of millions of africans and millions of blacks in america.

94-year-old mandela’s serious illness casts a shadow over U.S. President’s entire weeklong trip to africa. Obama and zuma emphasized after their talks that trade and investment had to be strengthened. This is the only way to call for an economic boom on the continent.

Zuma said mandela’s condition was “critical but stable”. Hope grows that former president and anti-apartheid campaigner will get better soon. Like all sud africans, he hopes that the patient can soon be released from the hospital. Mandela has been in a clinic in pretoria for three weeks, suffering from a severe lung infection.

Obama’s meeting with the mandela family reportedly lasted less than half an hour. According to the weiben haus, two of mandela’s children and six grandchildren attended, but not his wife graca machel. He hopes that mandela will find peace by being with his loved ones in the hospital, obama reportedly said. Obama’s wife michelle was there.

There had been repeated speculation that obama would visit the hospital. Obama himself had lowered expectations on friday, however. He said he did not want to impose himself, he did not need a “photo opportunity”.

Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for his struggle against the apartheid system. In 1994 he became the first president of democratic sud africa. He had paved the way for the reconciliation of blacks and whites and received the nobel peace prize for it in 1993.

In johannesburg, obama met with young people at soweto university. He announced that his administration would massively expand the scholarship program for african students. The young africans were able to study at the best universities in the united states. “I believe in you,” obama shouted to young people. Obama repeatedly stresses need to train potential african political leaders well.

There were protests against obama’s visit. Police used batons and rubber bullets against several hundred protesters in soweto on saturday afternoon, according to the enca news channel. Left-wing and islamic groups had called for protests against the u.S. President over american drone operations and support for israel.

On sunday obama travels on to cape town. There he will visit the prison robben island, where mandela was imprisoned for years. In addition, he wants to address a political keynote speech to the continent. Last stop on his trip is tanzania on the east coast.


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