"What else can I do this term?" "Go to Kenya, call yourself 'Barack Hussein Obama,' and mention your dad?" "Hahaha… Wait, really?"
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) July 25, 2015
But seriously, folks…
Omar Muhammed, at Quartz Africa, on “Why Africa Loves Obama“:
… Let’s be honest. Obama’s election as America’s first black president and his family connections to Africa will forever afford him tremendous good will on the continent. But Africans’ deep affection for Obama is not based entirely on his race or ancestry.
It’s his engagement with the wider world—and not just Africa—that sets him apart in the minds of many. More than any previous US president, Barack Obama exhibits a true global sensibility. Yes, he is first and foremost an American and he acts to advance his country’s interests. But his recognition that there are other perspectives in the world is what makes him unique. Both stylistically and substantively, that has come to endear him not only to Africa but many other people across the world…
People who argue that Obama has been a disappointment to Africa view the situation from a very different perspective. Politico suggested that Obama’s decision not to direct vast sums of direct aid to Africa are proof of his failure: “Africa’s a continent where politics is all about patronage, and a president of the United States with Kenyan roots seemed to many Africans like the ultimate political patron.”
Well, not really mate. The Obama years have coincided with the extraordinary shift in Africa’s thinking about the present and the achievable future. Africans, like no other time before us, have come to believe in our ability to shape our future without the patronage of others.
This is something that Obama understands. And Africans love the fact that he gets it: What we want is not a patron, but a true partner.