Former US President Barack Obama in his first high-profile speech since leaving office asked people around the world to respect human rights and other values that are under threat, according to him, in an address marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela’s birth at a cricket stadium in Johannesburg.
While not naming Donald Trump, Obama in his speech in South Africa countered many of Trump’s policies, urging people to keep alive the ideas that Mandela worked for including democracy, diversity and good education for all.
Addressing to some 15,000 people, according to CNN, Obama said that the chaos of the world gave him the opportunity to seek perspective.
“But in the strange and uncertain times that we are in and they are strange, and they are uncertain, with each day’s news cycles bringing more head spinning and disturbing headlines — I thought maybe it would be useful to step back for a moment and try to get some perspective, so I hope you’ll indulge me,” Obama was quoted as saying by CNN.
Obama’s lecture, titled “Renewing the Mandela legacy and promoting active citizenship in a changing world,” tracked the transformation of the world, particularly in terms of race relations and human rights, over the past 100 years, and he said, it was plain fact that racial discrimination still exists in both the United States and South Africa.
Obama warned against returning to the older and dangerous and more brutal way of doing business.
His words were met with applauds by the people gathered at a cricket stadium in Johannesburg for the speech, which was also streamed online.