PRETORIA (Dagbladet): Nelson Mandela satt 18 av sine 27 år i fengsel i ei lita celle på fangeøya Robben Island utenfor Cape Town. Og i dag startet han sitt besøk i byen med å fly ut til den berømte øya. Han hadde med seg både kona Michelle og døtrene Sasha og Malia.
- Jeg er dypt ydmyk, skrev presidenten i fangeøyas gjestebok etter besøket.
Han besøkte avdelingen der Mandela og 33 andre anti-apartheid aktivister ble pint med hardt straffearbeid. Han gikk også inn i celle nummer fem, der Mandela satt. Han ble stående lenge og titte ut av det lille vinduet med jerngitter.
Før han og familien forlot øya skrev han dette i gjesteboka:
«På vegne av familien, vi er dypt ydmyke når vi står her hvor slike modige menn nektet å bøye av for uretferdighet. Verden er takknemmelige for heltene på Robben Island, som minner oss om at ingen lenker eller celler kan måle seg med styrken i mennesket.»
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Da han reiste fra Pretoria i morges sa han at han gledet seg til å lære barna sine om Nelson Mandelas kamp for å bekjempe raseskillet - først som politisk aktivist, og senere som president i en forenet regjering sammen med de som holdt ham fanget på øya.
- Jeg vil hjelpe dem å forstå hvordan de kan lære av Mandela og om deres eget ansvar som framtidige verdensborgere. Det er en ære og et privilegium å kunne vise dem dette.
Under sitt Sør-Afrikabesøk har Obama hyllet Mandelas moralske mot i flere taler.
Obama blir på mange måter sammenliknet med Mandela. Begge er nobelprisvinnere og begge er første svarte president i sitt hjemland, to nasjoner som begge har en stygg historie med raseskille.
Kampen mot apartheid i Sør Afrika var en av de sakene som engasjerte Obama sterkest i hans undomstid, og den første politiske demonstrasjonen han deltok på var en anti-apharteid protestmarsj.
Nelson Mandela spent 18 years on Robben Island, confined to a tiny cell. Obama's visit to Robben Island comes as Mandela is hospitalized for a third week in critical condition. Obama was near Mandela's Pretoria hospital Saturday, but did not see him due to the family's wishes and instead met privately with Mandela's relatives. His schedule Sunday began with a flight to Cape Town and then a helicopter ride to the museum on Robben Island. He said he's eager to teach his children about Mandela's role in overcoming white racist rule, first as an activist and later as a president who forged a unity government with his former captors. On Saturday he told reporters that he wants to "help them to understand not only how those lessons apply to their own lives but also to their responsibilities in the future as citizens of the world. That's a great privilege and a great honor." Obama, who has spoken movingly about Mandela throughout his trip to Africa, praised the former South African president's "moral courage" during remarks from the Union Buildings where Mandela was inaugurated as his nation's first black president. "We as leaders occupy these spaces temporarily and we don't get so deluded that we think the fate of our country doesn't depend on how long we stay in office," Obama said during a news conference with South African president Jacob Zuma. Obama's ascent to the White House has drawn comparisons to Mandela. Both are their nations' first black presidents, symbols of racial barrier breaking and winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama attended his first political rally as a 19-year-old college student protesting apartheid. Zuma said Obama and Mandela "both carry the dreams of millions of people in Africa and in the diaspora who were previously oppressed." Mandela's democratic vision
Mandela's legacy also will be a prominent theme throughout Obama's speech later on Sunday at the University of Cape Town, said White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes. The president will emphasis "the ability for societies to change," Rhodes said, along with the need for democratic development and empowering young people. Rhodes said Mandela's vision was always going to feature prominently in the speech given that the address will follow Obama's visit to Robben Island, the prison where Mandela was confined for 18 years. But the former South African leader's deteriorating health "certainly puts a finer point on just how much we can't take for granted what Nelson Mandela did." Obama is also expected to emphasize how Mandela's democratic vision is hardly complete. While there has been progress here that "nobody could have possibly imagined," Rhodes said, millions of people on the continent still live in poverty and governments still struggle with corruption. Harkening back to a prominent theme from his speech in Ghana in 2009, Obama will emphasize that Africans must take much of the responsibility for finishing the work started by Mandela and his contemporaries. "The progress that Africa has made opens new doors, but frankly, it's up to the leaders in Africa and particularly young people to make sure that they're walking through those doors of opportunity," Rhodes said. Obama will speak at the University of Cape Town nearly 50 years after Robert F Kennedy delivered his famous "Ripple of Hope" speech from the school. Kennedy spoke in Cape Town two years after Mandela was sentenced to life in prison. - Sapa-AP