Mandela day: Obama addresses huge crowd in South Africa

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Mandela day: Obama adresses huge crowd in South Africa

Former US President Barack Obama addressed some 15,000 people in South Africa on Tuesday to mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.

The address came a day after his successor, Donald Trump, upbraided the US in a news conference with Vladimir Putin.

The speech by Obama, who has made an art of criticizing the current President’s values without explicitly naming Trump, follows a humiliating conference in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday in which Trump sided with Putin over his own country’s intelligence agencies on whether Russia interfered in the 2016 US election.
Obama makes the 16th annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in Johannesburg ahead of Mandela Day on Wednesday, in one of his highest-profile speeches since he left office in 2017.
His lecture is titled “Renewing the Mandela legacy and promoting active citizenship in a changing world.”
Obama arrived at the cavernous Wanderers Cricket Stadium to a standing ovation and a joyful performance of the South African anthem by the Soweto Gospel Choir.
Obama’s speech followed remarks by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, formerly a freedom fighter and minister in Mozambique’s government.
Machel drew several parallels between Mandela and Obama, portraying them both as modest men as “symbols of victory over adversity.”
As the first African-American president … Barack Obama stands on the shoulders of giants. He too was influenced by generations of greats who came before him” she said.
“From the humblest of beginnings, they are representatives of the masses and reached to the pinnacle of power and influence.
But in doing so they were able to elevate the rights and ambitions of the disenfranchised and the weak. Of young and old, of both men and women, of black and white.”
Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95. He helped South Africa break the practice of racial segregation and do away with white minority rule.
Imprisoned for nearly three decades for his fight against state-sanctioned racial segregation, he was freed in 1990 and quickly set about working to unite the nation through forgiveness and reconciliation, becoming South Africa’s first black president. Obama, who became the US’ first black president in 2009, has referred to Mandela as a mentor.
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