Barack Obama in Africa

Obama in South Africa

                        The President and First Lady Toast the President of South Africa

 A Sojourn in the Land of his Father

On his three nations African tour Barack Hussein Obama is being greeted with enthusiastic cheers from the people and warmly welcomed by heads of state.  Beginning his week long journey on the continent in Senegal, a democratic francophone nation on the West Coast of Africa, he was greeted like the prodigal son returning home and was showered with love everywhere he went.   South Africa was somewhat different.

As is the case here in the US, the left boisterously protested a variety of issues in South Africa; which is healthy because it signifies a robust democracy in both countries.  I am fairly certain that the members of the South African trade Unions that staged the demonstrations failed to appreciate the fact that President Obama is fighting for their right to organize everywhere in Africa – which is far from the case now.

This kind of freedom of speech has a short tenure in South Africa, which just a little over 20 years ago was a white supremacist police state with a racial caste system enforced by the police powers of the apartheid government.  The same was true for the US, which only dismantled the last vestiges of its white supremacist legal structure in 1964, less than 50 years ago.

Although African Americans were first granted the right to vote with the ratification of the 15th Amendment in 1870, the southern states of the former confederacy found ways to nullify it by the end of the 19th century.  It took the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to restore the vote to millions of black Americans; but the Supreme Court had just gutted the heart of the law, and act which experts say will decrease the vote of Afro-Americans and other minorities.

Hence in South Africa and the US the struggle for racial equality continues, which has left many in the historically oppressed classes disillusioned. Agitated and organized by the left, some factions of the black communities have rejected the new black leaders and are even accusing them of betrayal.

Everywhere the Youths Beamed Sunshine Smiles….

Obama in South Africa

 …..that mirrored their Affection and Pride in President Obama

However, the leftist are a minority.  The majority of black people in Africa and America believe that for those two formerly Herrenvolk democracies, based on white master race ideology – a set of beliefs in which blacks were viewed as little more than beast of burden – to now be governed by black Presidents is a great leap forward for African people in the world. This was abundantly clear from the radiant smiles on the faces of the brightest young people; they know that this is a great moment in the history of their people that is the culmination of centuries of struggle, and they fully understand what this means for their future even if the self-styled leftist “revolutionaries” are cluless.

The South African Left Reflects the American Right

Protesters gather outside Johannesburg University

 The Idiotic South African Left advertising its Confusion

The attempt to cast President Obama as Adolph Hitler is one of the most scurrilous tactics of the racist American right.  It is ahistorical and stupid, and for black South African leftist to also adopt this tactic confirms the fact that they are as deluded as their Tea Party soul mates in the US despite their leftist rhetoric.  Which explains why I am contemptuous of ideologues of whatever stripe.  The demonstrations were organized by the Congress of South African Trade Unions – COSATU – the South African Communist Party, A Muslim organization that tried to get a warrant for President Obama’s arrest as a war criminal – an idea they probably borrowed from that gapped tooth bushy headed buffoon Cornel West – and radical students.

The first thing the careful observer notices is that if this coailtion of groups were to succeed in taking power in South Africa – although I suspect we have a better chance of witnessing elephants fly – they would soon be at each other’s throats.  Marxist and Muslims are a worse mix than oil and water, and the Communist Party would end up at war with the unions because communist do not permit independent unions that challenge the power of the Party…politics make strange bedfellows.

A Racist Poster from the American Right
Is the South African Left and the American Right Soul Brothers?

In order to recognize the impotence of the South African left as an oppositional force to the government, we need look no further than Egypt.  As I write the opposition to the government is expressed in mass demonstrations with people packed together in row upon row of impassioned protesters demanding the resignation of the nation’s president.  This is a true people’s movement in Egypt, but based on the reactions to South Africa’s left-wing “No Obama” campaign, they don’t appear to be much more effective than the Black Obama bashers in the US at convincing the masses of black people that President Obama is their enemy!

Those who grew up under apartheid, when the US government supported white supremacy and the CIA tracked down Nelson Mandela for the fascist apartheid regime, know better from bitter experience and most of the students seem able to sense it.  One only has to witness the admiration showered upon the President every time he spoke to the youths to recognize that the anti-Obama propaganda from the left had no effect.

There is nothing the leftist ideologues can say with their “rhapsody” of gloom and doom that can equal the power of hope and possibility the youths of Africa heard in Barack Obama’s speech at the University of Cape Town; especially since he embodies their dreams in his example.   The President told the students how his interest in politics was inspired by the struggle of Mandela and the ANC against Apartheid, and reflected on how far black people have advanced in both South Africa and the USA since then.

The screams of protest from the left rang hollow when played against the President’s message outlining the road to a bright future that awaits young people in Africa, and the role that trade and investment with the US will play.  And they were especially attentive when he talked about the role of personal  “freedom” in economic development and scientific innovation, or explained the importance of food security.  They broke into tumultuous applause when he announced a 7 billion dollar US investment in Africa to double the electrical output on the continent.

They responded with sustained applause when he said that full development can only happen “when governments exist to serve the people and not the other way around,” and explained the elements of democratic government.  And his call for the equal education of women was greeted by repeated outburst of applause.  As was his arguments against the notion that democratic government is the sole heritage of the white west, while pointing out that their experiment with democracy in South Africa now inspires people around the world.

And they listened with rapt attention when he explained that the role of the Africa Command – whose mission is much maligned by the left – is to assist Africans in keeping the peace in places like Somalia, Mali, Central African Republic, Congo – places where genocide might otherwise occur.  He spoke directly to the charges of the Left and demolished them with ease.  Throughout his speech the President constantly quoted the words of Nelson Mandela, the father of the nation who is lying in the hospital under a death watch, to underline his point.

When President Obama’s sunshine smile, infectious charm, brilliant mind, great since of humor and impeccable comic timing, and moving eloquence is added to his basic decency, lack of pretentiousness and hip understanding of pop culture – as when he casually rattled off the names of top South African pop music groups – he is without peers among his critics on the left or right…which is why they are like Jackals howling in the bush while the caravan moves on.

The President’s critics have not yet recognized that in order to prevail in their attempt to win the hearts and minds of the people and turn them against him they must offer a vision of freedom, justice and progress that can match his.  Thus far they have been a colossal failure!  And even so, Barack is the President of the USA, the most powerful man in the world; he can make things happen…while his critics can only complain.  And then he also has a secret weapon: our first Lady Michelle, whose genuine warmth and charm coupled with great intelligence beguiles people all over the world!  In Africa or America the Obamas are da bomb!  The Huxtables on steroids and even more popular.

A Magic Moment with the First Lady
Michelle and African Girls 
A Moment these girls will Never Forget
(Part two of my of our look at President Obama’s African sojourn we will examine the economic, political and military conditions on the African continent.)


Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York


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