Obama pays tribute to ill Mandela in South Africa (VIDEO)
Originally published July 1, 2013 at 1:35 a.m., updated July 1, 2013 at 10:40 a.m.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Paying tribute to his personal hero, President Barack Obama met privately Saturday with Nelson Mandela’s family as the world anxiously awaited news on the condition of the ailing 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader.
Obama, who has spoken movingly about Mandela throughout his trip to Africa, praised the former South African president’s “moral courage” during remarks from the grand Union Buildings where Mandela was inaugurated as his nation’s first black president.
The U.S. president also called on the continent’s leaders, including in neighboring Zimbabwe, to take stock of Mandela’s willingness to put country before self and step down after one term despite his immense popularity.
“We as leaders occupy these spaces temporarily and we don’t get so deluded that we think the fate of our country doesn’t depend on how long we stay in office,” Obama said during a news conference with South African President Jacob Zuma.
Obama’s stop in South Africa marked the midway point of a weeklong trip to Africa, his most significant engagement with the continent since taking office in 2009.
His lack of personal attention on the region has frustrated some Africans who had high expectations for the first black American president and son of a Kenyan man.
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