News / Africa

Clinton Urges S. Africa to Take Bigger Global Role

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton silhouetted by stage light, University of the Western Cape, South African, Aug. 8, 2012.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton silhouetted by stage light, University of the Western Cape, South African, Aug. 8, 2012.
Anne Look
CAPE TOWN — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrapped up her visit to South Africa Wednesday with a speech to students at the University of the Western Cape, which she honored as a "vanguard" of the anti-apartheid movement.
Clinton called on South Africans to live up to the legacy of Nelson Mandela and the country to take a larger role in promoting democracy and human rights throughout the world.
Clinton told university students in Cape Town that it is up to them to define South Africa's future and approach to the world.
"You will decide whether South Africa moves forward and not backward. You will decide whether South Africa seeks to erase old dividing lines in global politics," she said. "You will decide whether South Africa sets aside old suspicions and instincts and embraces new partnerships tailored to 21st-century challenges."
Earlier in her visit, Clinton called South Africa the "centerpiece" of her 11-day tour of the continent, aimed at selling America's Africa strategy, defined as forming mutually beneficial partnerships with nations that bolster peace, democracy, human rights and economic growth. 
"Now I've often heard it said that African problems need African solutions," she said. "Well, I'm here to say that some of our global problems need African solutions too. And few nations on this continent can carry as much weight or be as effective partners and leaders as South Africa."
South Africa holds a rotating seat on the U.N. Security Council and currently holds the rotating presidency of the African Union.
Clinton spoke after two days of high-level talks aimed at promoting trade and American investment in South Africa, as well as addressing regional and global security issues.
"South Africa and the United States have not always seen eye-to-eye in this area, particularly at the height of the crises in Libya and Cote d'Ivoire, but the differences we have between us in these moments are over tactics not principals," she said. "That should not obscure our many shared goals, supporting the political transition in Somalia and combating piracy, from addressing the threat of terrorism and violent extremism across the Sahel to reinforcing the peace between Sudan and South Sudan."
Most recently, the United States and South Africa disagreed on proposed U.N. Security Council resolutions to sanction Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
South Africa, Clinton said, is one of many democracies in the "global South" that are "wary of intervention" into other countries' internal affairs.
"We all have to recognize that anywhere in any place where human rights are abused and democracy -- true democracy -- denied, the international community must apply pressure to help bring about positive change. No one understands that better than South Africa."
She also called on South Africa, the first country to voluntarily give up nuclear weapons, to play a greater role in curbing Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and keeping nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, and she praised the country's role in the political transition in Zimbabwe -- the ongoing work of drafting a new constitution and organizing a referendum and ultimately free and fair elections.
"When old friends in power become corrupt and repressive, a decision by South Africa to stand on the side of freedom is not a sign that you are giving up on old allies," she said. "It's a reminder to yourselves and the world that your values don't stop at your borders." 
The U.S. and South Africa, Clinton said, share a "deep and abiding" connection founded in both countries' histories of confronting and healing from oppression.
Clinton began this visit to South Africa by visiting freedom fighter and former president Nelson Mandela at his home in Qunu.
She opened and closed her speech Wednesday with memories of her first trip to South Africa for the inauguration of the now 94-year-old leader.
Clinton called upon South Africa to continue Mandela's struggle for human dignity and opportunity not only at home, but also abroad.

Photo Gallery: Hillary Clinton's Africa Tour

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets Kofi Annan and his wife Nane Lagergren at the funeral of Ghana President John Atta Mills, in Accra, Ghana, August 10, 2012.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, left, meets with Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama, at his residence in Accra, Ghana, August 9, 2012.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a clinic at Delft township on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, August 8, 2012.
  • South Africa's Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, left, and Hillary Clinton visit the Delft South Clinic in Delft South, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, August 8, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton meets with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel at his home in Qunu, South Africa, August 6, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton and South Africa's Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane see a rare snow flurry as they leave business meetings in Pretoria, South Africa, August 7, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton walks out with African Union Chair-Designate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma after their meeting at Brynterion Estate in Pretoria, South Africa, August 7, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton dances with Emille Phiri, chair of the Lumbadzi Milk Bulking Group, Lilongwe, Malawi, August 5, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton meets with Malawi's President Joyce Banda at the State House in Lilongwe, Malawi, August 5, 2012.
  • Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki, with Hillary Clinton (R) and his vice president Kalonzo Musyoka (L), leaves after a meeting at State House in Nairobi August 4, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton is met by Uganda's Foreign Affairs Minister Okello Oryem upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, August 3, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton shakes hands with Bishop Elias Taban in Juba August 3, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton meets with South Sudan President Salva Kiir, August 3, 2012, at the Presidential Office Building in Juba.
  • Hillary Clinton, accompanied by President Macky Sall, speaks at the Presidential Palace in Dakar, August 1, 2012.
  • Hillary Clinton shakes hands with staff from the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, August 1, 2012.
  • The shadow of Hillary Clinton on a Senegalese flag before she spoke at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, August 1, 2012.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs