Obama to visit South Africa in July for Mandela speech

Federico Mansilla
Abril 24, 2018

THE Nelson Mandela Foundation announced yesterday that former United States president Barack Obama will deliver the annual Nelson Mandela Lecture at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg. In his 2013 eulogy for the civil rights icon, Obama said Mandela's example "makes me want to be a better man".

"President Barack Obama - we will be looking forward to hosting him as he will be addressing this esteemed Nelson Mandela annual lecture", Sello Hatang, head of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation announced the presence of the first black US president at the lecture on Monday which is themed: "Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World". "We hope that it will again be a significant moment for the two legacies to join", added Hatang.

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Benjamin Rhodes, former speechwriter for Obama, shared with the New York Times that the former president believes this will be "the most important speech he has given since leaving the White House", as the root of some of the same issues Mandela faced haven't been excavated.

The July 17 speech at the Ellis Park Arena in South Africa is expected to be attended by 4,000 people, one day before Nelson Mandela International Day.

Previous speakers include presidents Bill Clinton, Thabo Mbeki, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Mary Robinson and Michelle Bachelet.

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