Obama's Beautiful Mandela Day Speech
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Obama's Mandela Day Speech Is Just What We need

Former President Barack Obama speaks of humanity, government, education, leadership, and numerous other topics during his Mandela Day speech.

199
Obama's Mandela Day Speech Is Just What We need

Last week, former president Barack Obama spoke in Johannesburg, South Africa for Mandela Day, the 100th birthday of iconic revolutionary Nelson Mandela. The former US president was asked, no, he was "ordered" by South Africa's president into giving a lecture for Mandela Day. Barack Obama delivered an insightful, heartfelt, hopeful, rousing, and inspiring speech that could serve as a wake-up call to all those who hear it.

In this article, I want to highlight a few key points from former president Obama's lecture that I think people need to revisit. The lecture is almost an hour and a half long, which gives Obama the chance to cover so many amazing tenets.
Humans are a unique species. J.R.R. Tolkien acknowledges this in his creation of Middle Earth lore. We are crafty, we are adaptable, and we are versatile. Obama makes a similar claim by talking about how the world, the human race, has so much potential.

Looking back at our history since Nelson Mandela's birth, the world has made unbelievable and significant progress. It may not feel like it at the moment with all the issues plaguing the world, but history shows that we are capable of advancing. However, all of our advancements have led to new but similar problems. By looking inward to ourselves and backward to our history, we can make educated decisions about how to improve.

One problem that former president Obama spoke about what a debilitating disease I call callousness. Josh Brolin, famous for his depiction of Thanos from "Avengers: Infinity War," Cable in "Deadpool 2," and Bran in "The Goonies;" made an analysis when being interviewed by Stephen Colbert. In the interview, he unpacks people's comparison of president Donald Trump to Thanos and finds the common thread.

Callousness is probably the biggest problem facing the world, especially our country's leadership. They are so out-of-touch with what real people go through that they rarely act in our best interest. Being this out-of-touch is just a few turns away from shattering our beloved democracy, and it is our duty to protest and fight for what will secure our best life.

"Our best life" is governed by unalienable rights gifted to us by our Creator. We are human and share a common humanity, which possesses certain freedoms that cannot be stripped from us. Obama clearly states how shocking it is that we still have to talk about this today, that people still struggle to grasp that everyone is human and everyone deserves life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The labels of gender, sexual orientation, and race are all superficial determiners that hold no weight. These labels do not make anyone better or lesser than others because, as Obama revisits, certain truths like the Golden Rule never change. You can be proud of your own heritage and not criticize someone for theirs.

Former President Obama, on Mandela Day in Johannesburg, claimed that the only way to continue progressing is for everyone to accept these universal truths, develop a collective spirit, and actively make the changes that we need to. As humans, if we can unite under the label of human and not titles, sexual orientation, gender, or race, we can learn to love one another.

You may be wondering, what does any of this have to do with Nelson Mandela? All of what former president Obama said is what Mandela stood for. By looking back at human history and finding the iconic people who had the courage and aptitude to stand up for what's right, we can find it within ourselves to make the change.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

89334
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

60585
loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets
StableDiffusion

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments