Former U.S. President Barack Obama has agreed to speak at the 16th annual Nelson Mandela Lecture on July 17, 2018, in Johannesburg, to celebrate the anti-apartheid leader’s 100th birthday anniversary.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation announced the presence of the first black U.S. president at the lecture on Monday which is themed: “Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World”.
The @NelsonMandela Foundation is honoured to announce that President Barack Obama accepted our invitation to be the speaker at this year’s The 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture to take place in Johannesburg on 17 July, ahead of Madiba’s birthday – @SelloHatang @ObamaFoundation pic.twitter.com/HFdgk1YJ9h
— NelsonMandela (@NelsonMandela) April 23, 2018
“For most of his life, Nelson Mandela fought for democracy and equality. His presidency was defined by his efforts to solidify the fragile democracy of South Africa, and by his lessons on the politics of ‘bridge-building’ over the politics of division,” said the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Obama Foundation in a joint statement.
4,000 people are expected to attend the lecture which will usher in the 100th celebration of Mandela’s birth the next day July 18.
Former presidents Bill Clinton, Thabo Mbeki, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Mary Robinson and Michelle Bachelet have given speeches at previous Mandela lectures.