US First Lady Michelle Obama has wrapped up her week-long southern African tour getting attention from the students, the media and upwardly mobile young women. Obama won hearts for her husband and America, even being hailed as “Queen of Africa”.
News24 said her “signature’’ issue was young people. Speaking to a meeting of young people, she said:
"I want to make sure that you all see the promise in yourselves. It's so clear to me and so many others. The challenge is to make sure you see it in yourselves."
Obama returned home Sunday after a safari in Botswana where she also met President Ian Khama, AFP said. Obama also repeated words not heard in South Africa for a very long time and certainly not “politically correct” among those in power. She said:
"Success is not about where you come from or how much money your family has. Success is about how passionately you believe in your own potential and more importantly how hard you're willing to work to achieve it."
During Obama’s visit the youth wing of the governing African National Congress (ANCYL) came out officially in favour of nationalisation without compensation of farms and mines, including local and foreign-owned concerns, which raised some questions in international economic circles, not least due to the example of neighbouring Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown.
Obama, besides her old-fashioned work ethic speeches and calls for hope, won people over with her charm and style, as her sense of fashion also won friends in the region. The Sunday Independent dubbed this her “Queen of Africa” presence.
By now Obama is back in the US, having completed the second private tour. While she is officially a “private person”, it was clear that she was everything but, having served as a very effective ambassador of the US at a time when officially, Africa is not in love with the world’s only superpower.