Obama to bring a new voice of hope: Mandela (Lead)

January 21st, 2009 - 5:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaJohannesburg, Jan 21 (IANS) Former South African president Nelson Mandela has said that US President Barack Obama would bring a new voice of hope to the world, South African news agency BuaNews reported Wednesday.In a letter handed to Obama shortly before his inauguration Tuesday, Mandela said: “Mr President, you have brought a new voice of hope that these problems can be addressed and that we can in fact change the world and make it a better place.”

The former president said that he believed that the entire nation had witnessed something truly historic, not only in the political records of the US, but of the world.

He added that Obama’s election to the high office had inspired people as few other events in recent times have done.

“Amidst all of the human progress made over the last century, the world in which we live remains one of great divisions, conflict, inequality, poverty and injustice. Amongst many around the world a sense of hopelessness had set in as so many problems remain unresolved and seemingly incapable of being resolved,” Mandela said.

He likened the enthusiasm surrounding Obama’s inauguration to South Africa’s transition to democracy.

“People, not only in our country but around the world, were inspired to believe that through common human effort, injustice can be overcome and that together a better life for all can be achieved,” Mandela said.

He said that Obama’s presidency renewed the hope of a new beginning in the relations between nations, adding that there was excitement on the African continent because the US president had strong personal ties with Africa.

“The challenges we all face, be they economic, the environment, or in combating poverty or the search for peace, will be addressed with a new spirit of openness and accommodation. We share in that excitement and pride.

“We are aware that the expectations of what your presidency will achieve are high and that the demands on you will be great,” Mandela said.

Mandela wished Obama and his family strength and fortitude in the challenging time that lies ahead. “You (Obama) will always be in our affection as a young man who dared to dream and to pursue that dream. We wish you well,” he said.

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