News

    Southern Africans Embrace Obama Election

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Barack Obama's victory in U.S. elections is being widely hailed in Southern Africa.  As VOA's Delia Robertson reports from our southern Africa bureau in Johannesburg, like others across the continent, southern Africans seem uniformly delighted Senator Obama will soon occupy the White House.

    From South Africa's elder statesman Nelson Mandela to ordinary workers going about their business, southern Africans have embraced Mr. Obama's election victory.

    In a letter to the newly elected American leader, Mr. Mandela urged Mr. Obama to make it his mission to also combat the scourge of poverty and disease throughout the world.  

    He wished Mr. Obama strength and fortitude and said he believes the soon-to-be U.S. president will indeed achieve his dream of making the United States a full partner in the community of nations, committed to peace and security for all.

    Mr. Mandela's belief was echoed by a South African named Busani, who said she is pinning her hopes on Mr. Obama assisting Africa in getting fairer treatment in global trade agreements. 

    "I am so happy, I am so glad," Busani said.  "I wept, I cried, I danced, I laughed - ooh, it is a great moment.  But I am hoping that in trade-related issues, Africa is going to be more prominent, that we get a fair deal economically, we are more recognized by the world, instead of being sidelined."

    Gwen, a 67-year-old South African who lived in the United States when John F. Kennedy was president, said Senator Obama's acceptance speech reminded her of Mr. Kennedy and made her weep.

    "I was quite overwhelmed by his acceptance address.  This brought to mind the inaugural address of John Kennedy, which to me was very powerful," Gwen said.

    Ferayi is a Zimbabwean in Harare who hopes Mr. Obama's election will bring hope to his beleaguered country.

    "For Africa and Zimbabwe in particular, we feel space is going to be opened for the Zimbabwean people, and probably the challenges that we are facing today are going to be a thing of the past through his victory," Ferayi said.

    Newly elected Zambian President Rupiah Banda also had warm words about the election.

    "I was very much interested to listen to his inaugural speech.  It was a very lovely, lovely election," Banda said.

    Like others, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe appeared to have also spent the night in front of his television.  His official congratulatory message was issued less than one hour after Mr. Obama made his speech. 

    Mr. Motlanthe said he hoped Mr. Obama would encourage change on this continent - change that like Americans,  Africans can believe in.

    South African Dawn believes Mr. Obama can do even more.

    "I think he is probably going to turn the world on its head, quite frankly," Dawn said.  "Clearly it is going to have an effect on Africa, and let us hope it is going to be a very positive effect on Africa.  And I think we are going to see some very interesting, huge changes."

    Tsarayi, a visually impaired Zimbabwean in Harare, thinks the U.S. election holds lessons for Africa.

    "This demonstrates political maturity also in the sense that John McCain has actually congratulated Obama and I think many African countries have a leaf to draw from that," Tsarayi said. 

    Antony, Tsarayi's Zambian neighbor living across the Zambezi River in Lusaka, agrees.

    "As Africans in Zambia we are happy with Obama's win," Antony said.  "It is truly democratic.  It will give us a lot of lessons as African countries delving into democracy."

    But even as southern Africans welcomed Mr. Obama's election, many also noted that he has a huge task ahead to meet not only the expectations of those who elected him, but also those on the African continent.  It is a task they say, that will demand particular strength and commitment and that may not always yield success. 

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.