Obama warns of 'strange and uncertain times'

Ruben Ruiz
July 19, 2018

"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.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said he would mark the day by donating half his salary to charity to honour "the great sacrifices he made and his tireless commitment to improving the lives of the most vulnerable".

I am not being alarmist, I'm simply stating the facts. "Look around - strongman politics are ascendant, suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained, the form of it, where those in powers seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning".

Obama warned that advances made since Mandela was in office were being eroded, with far-right parties emerging in the West that advocate protectionism, closed borders and barely hidden racial nationalism.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the 16th Nelson Mandela annual lecture, marking the centenary of the anti-apartheid leader's birth, in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 17, 2018.

"A hundred years ago, there was no reason to believe that a young black boy at this time and this place would be able to alter history", Obama said.

During a press conference with Putin following a summit between the two, Trump refused to back the USA intelligence community's assessment that Russian hackers had interfered in the 2016 presidential election, leading many to view Trump as kowtowing to Putin.

By the time Obama took the stage on Wednesday, Trump - amid a furore back home - had rolled back some of his comments from the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week.

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Without facts, there's no basis for cooperation", Obama said, adding: "Unfortunately, too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth.

"Politicians have always lied, but it used to be if you caught them lying, they'd be like, 'Aw, man.' Now they just keep on lying", Obama said. Just as people spoke about the triumph of democracy in the '90s, now you're hearing people talk about the end of democracy and the triumph of tribalism and the strong man.

Former President of Liberia, H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is now in South Africa to join in the celebration of the 100th centenary anniversary of President Nelson Mandela birth, in South Africa.

Mr Obama met young leaders from around Africa to mark the anniversary, a day after he delivered a speech in Johannesburg about Mr Mandela's legacy of tolerance and criticised USA president Donald Trump and his policies without mentioning him by name.

Obama targeted both the USA and African governments without mentioning any names when he spoke about democracy.

"I would like it to start here because the Eastern Cape is fertile of this agricultural revolution", he said. It's not like things such as corruption and racism were terrifically better before Trump was elected, but at least the epicenter wasn't the White House.

Obama concluded his speech by encouraging young people to stay politically active and have faith in democracy despite how "slow" and "frustrating" it can be at times.

"Good leaders make allowance for the fact that even they can be wrong, and they know when and how to say sorry".

Other reports by GizPress

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