Johannesburg – CAGE Africa calls on the Nelson Mandela Foundation to immediately withdraw its invitation to ex-US President Barack Obama, who is scheduled to address the Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in South Africa on 17 July.

In an open letter, delivered to the Foundation and published today, we have outlined our reasons why Obama cannot serve as a figurehead representative of Nelson Mandela’s legacy.

Among these is the fact that Obama has been at the helm of the covert but rapid US militarization of the African continent, multiple drone attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians and a program of rendition (cross-border kidnapping) and torture for which not a single American government official has been held accountable.

Feroze Boda, spokesperson for CAGE Africa, said:

“Barack Obama, despite the world’s high hopes for him, and rather than being the champion of human rights as he will no doubt cast himself to be in his upcoming lecture ‘Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World’, has in fact ensured that the United States has set an unacceptable low moral standard when it comes to human rights and the dignity of local populations.”

“Numerous first-person accounts and reports are evidence that Obama and his supporters have cultivated a new kind of colonialism in the name of the ‘War on Terror’, spreading fear, violence and destruction in particular among Muslim communities, through rubber-stamping over 100 military actions a day throughout Africa, and many more in the Middle East. US foreign policy has left destruction, division and suffering in its wake, and led to the rise of violent groups.”

“We call on the Nelson Mandela Foundation to adhere firmly to its principles and withdraw the invitation. Not doing so would cause the reputation of the Foundation to be damaged in the eyes of most supporters around the world, since it will set a benchmark that principles are sacrificed for publicity.”


(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)