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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 104

"out of deference" to Nelson Mandela and the family's wishes, Obama did not see the former South African president

Pretoria, 30 June, (Asiantribune.com):

US President Barack Obama who was in Spouth Africa on Saturday, did not see the former South African president, who is critically ill, "out of deference" to him and the family's wishes.

Barack Obama has told Nelson Mandela's wife he hopes the ailing former leader "draws peace and comfort from the time he's spending with loved ones".

The US President spoke by telephone to Graca Machel while she stayed at the 94-year-old's hospital bedside.

Machel said she drew strength from the call and that Obama added a characteristic "touch of personal warmth."

"I am humbled by their comfort and messages of strength and inspiration, which I have already conveyed" to Mandela, she said.

Mr Obama also met two of the Nobel Peace laureate's daughters and eight of his grandchildren at a private meeting, which lasted 30 minutes, at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg.

"I also reaffirmed the profound impact that his legacy has had in building a free South Africa, and in inspiring people around the world -- including me," Obama said in a statement after the visit. "That's a legacy that we must all honor in our own lives."

Obama also paid tribute to South Africa's fight against apartheid by visiting the Soweto area Saturday afternoon for a town hall with students at the University of Johannesburg.

At least 176 young people were killed in Soweto township 27 years ago this month during a youth protest against the apartheid regime's ban against teaching local Bantu languages. The Soweto Uprising catalyzed international support against apartheid, and June is now recognized as Youth Month in South Africa.

Obama wraps up his South Africa stay Sunday, when he plans to give a sweeping speech on U.S.-Africa policy at the University of Cape Town and take his family to Robben Island to tour the prison where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years behind bars.

Obama has visited the island before, but said it's a particular privilege to bring his daughters back to learn its lessons.

In a statement after the visit, he said: "I also reaffirmed the profound impact that his legacy has had in building a free South Africa, and in inspiring people around the world - including me.
"That's a legacy that we must all honor in our own lives."

- Asian Tribune -

"out of deference" to Nelson Mandela  and the family's wishes,  Obama did not see the former South African president
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