UPDATED: 5 p.m. (all times local)
Former U.S. President Barack Obama is taking aim at the “utter loss of shame among political leaders when they’re caught in a lie and they just double down and lie some more.”
Obama’s spirited speech in South Africa is his highest-profile address since leaving office. He is marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela’s birth and giving an impassioned defense of the values held by the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Obama says these days “people just make stuff up” in politics and no longer show embarrassment when being caught out.
He warns that the denial of facts could be the undoing of democracy.
But he reminds the audience of thousands that “we’ve been through darker times. We’ve been through lower valleys.”
Former U.S. President Barack Obama is giving a spirited defense of equality and tolerance, saying that people who put others down are “small-minded.”
His speech marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela’s birth even invokes the World Cup-winning French team and its diversity. “Not all of those folks look like Gauls to me. But they’re French!”
Obama’s highest-profile speech since leaving office is a wide-ranging address attacking “strongman politics” and corruption and hatred, with a warning that countries that engage in xenophobia “eventually … find themselves consumed by civil war.”
He adds that “the struggle for basic justice is never truly finished.”
Former U.S. President Barack Obama says politicians pushing “politics of fear, resentment, retrenchment” are on the move “at a pace unimaginable just a few years ago.”
Obama is giving a speech in South Africa to mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and is making clear the world is at a crossroads between Mandela’s vision of tolerance and current “disturbed” times.
Obama tells the crowd that “those in power seek to undermine every institution … that gives democracy meaning.”
He is attacking “strongman politics” and adds: “I am not being alarmist, I am simply stating the facts. Look around.”
Former U.S. President Barack Obama in his first high-profile speech since leaving office is calling today’s times “strange and uncertain.”
Obama has opened his speech in South Africa by saying that “each day’s news cycle is bringing more head-spinning and disturbing headlines.”
He is speaking in South Africa to mark the 100th anniversary of Mandela’s birth.
While not directly mentioning his successor, President Donald Trump, Obama is expected to counter many of Trump’s policies, rallying people to keep alive the ideas that Mandela worked for including democracy, diversity and good education for all.
South Africa’s president is introducing former U.S. President Barack Obama as the rare person who dreamed about being like Nelson Mandela and achieving that dream.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, however, also is poking fun at Obama, saying he cannot dance as well as Mandela could dance.
Obama, who is set to make his highest-profile speech since leaving office, has responded with a mock look of outrage and a smile.
Ramaphosa adds that in Obama, “We have found a kindred spirit. We have found a brother.”
Obama is delivering a speech to mark the 100th anniversary of Mandela’s birth.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama has been greeted with cheers in South Africa as he is set to make his highest-profile speech since leaving office.
Obama is expected to urge people around the world to respect human rights and other values under threat in an address marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela’s birth.
While not directly mentioning his successor, President Donald Trump, Obama’s speech is expected to be a rebuke to many of Trump’s policies.
An estimated 14,000 people have gathered for the address which should start shortly.