Former US President Barack Obama is set to deliver a lecture in South Africa in July as the world marks 100-year anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.
It will be his second visit to the continent since landing in Kenya in 2015 while he was still a president. Obama has stayed away from the spotlight as much as he could so far after leaving office though he has delivered several lectures across the world under his foundation. Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95 and Obama’s speech will be the 16th one since the lectures were started.
“For most of his life, Nelson Mandela fought for democracy and equality. His presidency was defined by his efforts to solidify the fragile democracy of South Africa, and by his lessons on the politics of ‘bridge-building’ over the politics of division,” both Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Obama Foundation said in a joint speech.
Dubbed “Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World”, the lecture will be on July 17 at Ellis Park, a day before Nelson Mandela International Day, and almost two months after Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Mandela, was laid to rest. She died on April 2 at the age of 81 after a long illness.
At least 200 will be invited by Obama Foundation and a total of 4000 people are expected to attend the lecture.
“The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture will focus on creating conditions for bridging divides, working across ideological lines, and resisting oppression and inequality,” the joint statement said.
Obama will join other leaders such as Bill Clinton, Thabo Mbeki, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Mary Robinson and Michelle Bachelet who have lectured in the event.