Obama Extols Africa’s Diversity, Culture Ahead of Sunday Visit to Kenya

Barack Obama being received in Kenya by his half sister, Auma Obama and President Kenyatta (R) in 2015 (Photo SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Former U.S President, Barack Obama is set to return to Kenya, his country of origin, for the first time since his Presidency ended, and the third time in his entire life. He last visited Kenya in 2015 as U.S President in what was viewed as a landmark homecoming.

Obama’s visit to Africa is scheduled for this week, according to a post he made on his Facebook page on Friday, and he will be visiting Kenya and South Africa.

“This week, I’m traveling to Africa for the first time since I left office – a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving culture, and remarkable stories,” Obama said in a post.

Obama whose late father was Kenyan will arrive in Kenya this Sunday and will meet with President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader, Raila Odinga. However, his visit has been described by his half sister, Dr Auma Obama as largely private, thus the Kenyan government will have less involvement in it.

He will also visit Siaya County where he will attend the inauguration of the Sauti Kuu (Powerful Voices) Foundation Sports, Resource and Vocational Training Centre on Monday. The vocational center aims to provide educational and economic opportunities to help young people serve their communities, and shares a similar mission as the former President’s Obama Foundation.

“I was proud to visit sub-Saharan Africa more times than any other sitting President, and I’ll return this week to visit Kenya and South Africa,” recounted Obama in his post.

He said that his maiden visit to the East African country while he was in his twenties profoundly influenced his experience which inspired ‘Dreams from My Father’, the first book he wrote.

After Kenya, Obama’s next stop will be South Africa where he’s slated to attend the highly anticipated 100th anniversary of former South African President, late Nelson Mandela. He will deliver a speech at the event which is expected to attract notable leaders and international entertainers.

“In South Africa, the Obama Foundation will convene 200 extraordinary young leaders from across the continent and I’ll deliver a speech to mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth,” Obama said.

Obama who seemed quite upbeat about his trip to Africa said “I’ve often drawn inspiration from Africa’s extraordinary literary tradition” over the years.

He went ahead to share a list of books by African writers which he recommended to his followers for summer reading. The list included ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe, ‘A Grain of Wheat’ by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ by Nelson Mandela and ‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

The other two books are ‘The Return’ by Hisham Matar and ‘The World As It Is’ by Ben Rhodes.

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