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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora