Ambassador Patrick Gaspard’s love affair with South Africa began as a child and our politics turned him into an activist and a political animal. When he served as political director in the White House, he was described as “one of the most powerful men in American politics”. Instead of remaining at President Barack Obama’s side for a second term, Gaspard asked to come to South Africa as the United States’ chief diplomat. He hasn’t had the easiest term here, managing chicken wars and fending off “regime change” allegations. In his last week in South Africa, before he takes up his powerful position in international philanthropy, he spoke to RANJENI MUNUSAMY about his plans to keep “Hope” alive.