US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S VISIT TO SOUTH AFRICA

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President Obama’s highlights:

  • that he views South Africa as a critical partner, that Africa is on the rise and South Africa is at the forefront of trends in Africa;
  • sees South Africa as critical and one of his top priorities on this trip, and that is to promote trade and investment that helps unleash economic growth in Africa, and ultimately benefit the United States of America;
  • the US exports more products to South Africa than any other nation in sub-Saharan Africa;
  • almost 98% of South Africa’s exports enter the United States markets duty free;
  • he wants to renew and update the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to generate more trade and more jobs; and
  • the US interest is to promote energy availability in Africa to generate jobs so that Africans have better incomes and thus can buy American goods and services.

President Obama and his wife Michelle then spoke to Nelson Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel where they expressed that they hope Madiba drawn peace and comfort from the time that he is spending with his loved ones and also conveyed their heartfelt support for the family as they work through the difficult time.  The Obamas also met with the members of the Mandela family at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.

 

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PRESIDENT OBAMA PARTICIPATES IN A TOWN HALL FOR YOUNG AFRICAN LEADERS AT UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG – SOWETO CAMPUS

Reflections on Nelson Mandela, he told his audience:

  • “as you go forward, I want you to think about the man in our prayers today.  Think of the 27 years in prison, the hardship and struggles and being away from family and friends.  In your lives, there are times that will test your faith.  Don’t lose those qualities of your youth, your imagination, your optimism, your idealism”.
  • He said that Mandela and the apartheid struggle inspired him to take his first steps into political activism as a 19 year old college student in 1980.

The Young African Leaders Initiative launched in 2010 by President Obama supports leadership development, promotes entrepreneurship, and connects the next generation of African leaders with one another and the United States.

President Obama announced a significant expansion of this initiative – a new program called the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. This new program provides thousands of promising young Africans the opportunity to come to the United States in order to develop skills at public and private American colleges and universities. The Washington Fellowship will:

  • Invest in a new generation of young African leaders who are shaping the continent’s future.
  • Respond to the strong demand by young African leaders for practical skills that can help them take their work to the next level in the fields of public service and business.
  • Deepen partnerships and connections between the United States and Africa.
  • Build a prestigious network of young African leaders who are at the forefront of change and innovation in their respective sectors.

PRESIDENT OBAMA DELIVERS REMARKS IN UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN

President Obama delivered his speech at the University of Cape Town, in the same hall the late Senator Robert Kennedy delivered his speech in 1966 to students who were mainly white at the time.

These are some of the highlights of his speech:

  • “When Bobby Kennedy spoke at the University of Cape Town in 1966, he expressed a powerful idea. He said: “Each time a man stands up for an ideal… he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
  • Now the world is very different from that June day in 1966. The idea of hope might have seemed misplaced.
  • It would have seemed inconceivable to people at that time that less than 50 years later, an African-American president might address an integrated audience at South Africa’s oldest university, and that this same university would have conferred an honorary degree to a president, Nelson Mandela. It would have seemed impossible.
  • And this is a moment of great promise. South Africa is one of the world’s economic centres.
  • Many of the fastest-growing economies in the world are here in Africa.
  • So there is no question that Africa is on the move, but it’s not moving fast enough for the child still languishing in poverty in forgotten townships.
  • And that’s where the young people of Africa come in. Just like previous generations, you’ve got choices to make. You get to decide where the future lies. Think about it – over 60 percent of Africans are under 35 years old.
  • I’ve travelled to Africa on this trip because my bet is on the young people who are the heartbeat of Africa’s story. I’m betting on all of you.
  • So I’m calling for America to up our game when it comes to Africa. We’re bringing together business leaders from America and Africa to deepen our engagement. We’re going to launch new trade missions and promote investment from companies back home.
  • So this is America’s vision: a partnership with Africa that unleashes growth, and the potential of every citizen, not just a few at the very top. And this is achieveable.
  • But history tells us that true progress is only possible where governments exist to serve their people, and not the other way around.
  • But this work is not complete – we all know that. Not in those countries where leaders enrich themselves with impunity; not in communities where you can’t start a business, or go to school, or get a house without paying a bribe to somebody. These things have to change.
  • And they have to change not just because such corruption is immoral, but it’s also a matter of self-interest and economics. Governments that respect the rights of their citizens and abide by the rule of law do better, grow faster, draw more investment than those who don’t. That’s just a fact.
  • These are things that America stands for – not perfectly – but that’s what we stand for, and that’s what my administration stands for.

 

OBAMA VISIT SA

President Obama has in a more excellent way rekindled the spirit of Marcus Garvey, B .W.Dubois, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and a host of other African American and ordinary American Citizen , who were vehemently opposed to apartheid system of government that was reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Because of this bold move made by President Obama I render him the accolades for his pioneering spirit, of bringing Africa to be an equal partner of  the new global village that is steadily rising in many parts of our world . Suffice it to say, Langstone Hughes poem entitled ,Freedom,s Plow speaks directly to President Obama vision to support Africa in its attempt to break away from the remaining remnants of neocolonial legacy of the past and usher in spirit of partnership between Africa and the USA,to follow is Langston poem,

 

When a man starts out with nothing,

When a man starts out with his hands

Empty, but clean,

When a man starts to build a world,

He starts first with himself

And the faith that is in his heart-

The strength there,

The will there to build.

 

First in the heart is the dream-

Then the mind starts seeking a way.

His eyes look out on the world,

On the great wooded world,

On the rich soil of the world,

On the rivers of the world.

 

The eyes see there materials for building,

See the difficulties, too, and the obstacles.

The mind seeks a way to overcome these obstacles.

The hand seeks tools to cut the wood,

To till the soil, and harness the power of the waters.

Then the hand seeks other hands to help,

A community of hands to help-

Thus the dream becomes not one man’s dream alone,

But a community dream.

Not my dream alone, but our dream.

Not my world alone,

But your world and my world,

Belonging to all the hands who build.

 

A long time ago, but not too long ago,

Ships came from across the sea

Bringing the Pilgrims and prayer-makers,

Adventurers and booty seekers,

Free men and indentured servants,

Slave men and slave masters, all new-

To a new world, America!

 

With billowing sails the galleons came

Bringing men and dreams, women and dreams.

In little bands together,

Heart reaching out to heart,

Hand reaching out to hand,

They began to build our land.

Some were free hands

Seeking a greater freedom,

Some were indentured hands

Hoping to find their freedom,

Some were slave hands

Guarding in their hearts the seed of freedom,

But the word was there always:

Freedom.

 

Down into the earth went the plow

In the free hands and the slave hands,

In indentured hands and adventurous hands,

Turning the rich soil went the plow in many hands

That planted and harvested the food that fed

And the cotton that clothed America.

Clang against the trees went the ax into many hands

That hewed and shaped the rooftops of America.

Splash into the rivers and the seas went the boat-hulls

That moved and transported America.

Crack went the whips that drove the horses

Across the plains of America.

Free hands and slave hands,

Indentured hands, adventurous hands,

White hands and black hands

Held the plow handles,

Ax handles, hammer handles,

Launched the boats and whipped the horses

That fed and housed and moved America.

Thus together through labor,

All these hands made America.

 

Labor! Out of labor came villages

And the towns that grew cities.

Labor! Out of labor came the rowboats

And the sailboats and the steamboats,

Came the wagons, and the coaches,

Covered wagons, stage coaches,

Out of labor came the factories,

Came the foundries, came the railroads.

Came the marts and markets, shops and stores,

Came the mighty products moulded, manufactured,

Sold in shops, piled in warehouses,

Shipped the wide world over:

Out of labor-white hands and black hands-

Came the dream, the strength, the will,

And the way to build America.

Now it is Me here, and You there.

Now it’s Manhattan, Chicago,

Seattle, New Orleans,

Boston and El Paso-

Now it’s the U.S.A.

 

A long time ago, but not too long ago, a man said:

ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL–

ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR

WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS–

AMONG THESE LIFE, LIBERTY

AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

His name was Jefferson. There were slaves then,

But in their hearts the slaves believed him, too,

And silently too for granted

That what he said was also meant for them.

It was a long time ago,

But not so long ago at that, Lincoln said:

NO MAN IS GOOD ENOUGH

TO GOVERN ANOTHER MAN

WITHOUT THAT OTHER’S CONSENT.

There were slaves then, too,

But in their hearts the slaves knew

What he said must be meant for every human being-

Else it had no meaning for anyone.

Then a man said:

BETTER TO DIE FREE

THAN TO LIVE SLAVES

He was a colored man who had been a slave

But had run away to freedom.

And the slaves knew

What Frederick Douglass said was true.

 

With John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, Negroes died.

John Brown was hung.

Before the Civil War, days were dark,

And nobody knew for sure

When freedom would triumph

“Or if it would,” thought some.

But others new it had to triumph.

In those dark days of slavery,

Guarding in their hearts the seed of freedom,

The slaves made up a song:

Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!

That song meant just what it said: Hold On!

Freedom will come!

Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!

Out of war it came, bloody and terrible!

But it came!

Some there were, as always,

Who doubted that the war would end right,

That the slaves would be free,

Or that the union would stand,

But now we know how it all came out.

Out of the darkest days for people and a nation,

We know now how it came out.

There was light when the battle clouds rolled away.

There was a great wooded land,

And men united as a nation.

 

America is a dream.

The poet says it was promises.

The people say it is promises-that will come true.

The people do not always say things out loud,

Nor write them down on paper.

The people often hold

Great thoughts in their deepest hearts

And sometimes only blunderingly express them,

Haltingly and stumblingly say them,

And faultily put them into practice.

The people do not always understand each other.

But there is, somewhere there,

Always the trying to understand,

And the trying to say,

“You are a man. Together we are building our land.”

America!

Land created in common,

Dream nourished in common,

Keep your hand on the plow! Hold on!

If the house is not yet finished,

Don’t be discouraged, builder!

If the fight is not yet won,

Don’t be weary, soldier!

The plan and the pattern is here,

Woven from the beginning

Into the warp and woof of America:

ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.

NO MAN IS GOOD ENOUGH

TO GOVERN ANOTHER MAN

WITHOUT HIS CONSENT.

BETTER DIE FREE,

THAN TO LIVE SLAVES.

Who said those things? Americans!

Who owns

those words? America!

Who is America? You, me!

We are America!

To the enemy who would conquer us from without,

We say, NO!

To the enemy who would divide

And conquer us from within,

We say, NO!

FREEDOM!

BROTHERHOOD!

DEMOCRACY!

 To all the enemies of these great words:

We say, NO!

 

A long time ago,

An enslaved people heading toward freedom

Made up a song:

Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!

The plow plowed a new furrow

Across the field of history.

Into that furrow the freedom seed was dropped.

From that seed a tree grew, is growing, will ever grow.

That tree is for everybody,

For all America, for all the world.

May its branches spread and shelter grow

Until all races and all peoples know its shade.

KEEP YOUR HAND ON THE PLOW! HOLD ON!