It’s been some years since we hosted then-senator Barack Obama on South African shores. Since then it’s been a matter of speculation: when the Obamas would pay an official visit. A matter of time, surely? As it turns out, it’s a matter of very little time indeed. One month, to be exact. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.
On Monday, the White House Press Secretary announced in Washington that American President Barack Obama and his wife plan to make an official visit Africa in a three-country tour that will include Senegal, Tanzania – and South Africa. In the official statement, the press secretary said the trip would take place from 26 June to 3 July.
In that statement, the White House said, “The President will reinforce the importance that the United States places on our deep and growing ties with countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including through expanding economic growth, investment, and trade; strengthening democratic institutions; and investing in the next generation of African leaders. The president will meet with a wide array of leaders from government, business, and civil society, including youth, to discuss our strategic partnerships on bilateral and global issues.”
The official statement added that the trip was designed to highlight the US leader’s “commitment to broadening and deepening cooperation between the United States and the people of sub-Saharan Africa to advance regional and global peace and prosperity.”
This will be the third time the president has visited the continent since he became president – he has previously travelled to Accra, Ghana and Cairo, Egypt. First Lady Michelle Obama visited South Africa last year.
Barack Obama previously visited South Africa while he was a US Senator from Illinois in 2006. A highlight of that trip was a visit to the Constitutional Court where he met with the justices of the Court.
The president has ancestral ties to Africa – his Kenyan father was an exchange student in Hawaii – but according to the announcement, there was no indication of a stop in Kenya. DM
Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk to Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, April 25, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed
"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason." ~ Thomas Paine