Today, former US President Barack Obama will be giving his #Mandela100 lecture in Johannesburg as part of the centenary celebrations of Nelson Mandela’s birth. News24 reported that this year’s annual lecture will focus on ‘Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World’. The Obama Foundation will also convene 200 young leaders from across the African continent.

Obama feels strongly connected to Africa as his father was born and raised in Kenya. In light of this, yesterday in the lead up to today’s events, he returned to his ancestral country in honour of the launch his half-sister Auma Obama’s Sauti Kuu Foundation, a youth development and education facility. The opening ceremony was attended by NBA Africa vice president and managing director Amadou Gallo Fall, Charlotte Hornets player Bismack Biyombo, as well as Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri.

Obama last paid his ancestral country a visit three years ago as ‘the first sitting American president to come from Kenya’, and in his speech he expressed how this time is more sentimental to him as a man who has his roots in Africa. Speaking at the opening on Monday 16 July, he shared a heartwarming anecdote:

‘When I think of what Auma has now accomplished in building this centre, what I think about is that first night in BR (Baton Rouge in the US) – and first night of going to sleep without running water or indoor plumbing. And the fact that because she knew where she came from, and how it connected to the young people in this community who maybe haven’t had as much opportunity as we had, it was out of that spirit the wonderful facility that we see today has been built.’

‘So, I tell you that story because I cannot be prouder of what my sister has accomplished,’ Obama added.

According to iOL News, this new sports facility boasts a football pitch and basketball court, where Barack Obama was photographed by internationally acclaimed South African creative director Trevor Stuurman, who was commissioned by the Auma Obama Foundation to document the former president’s visit to Kenya.

Another world-class South African who made Mr Obama’s visit memorable is ‘Princess of Africa’ Yvonne Chaka Chaka, who performed at the event.


Listen to Barack Obama’s full speech here: