June 29 - U.S. President Barack Obama praised Nelson Mandela as an 'inspiration' at meetings with the former South African leader's family and current president Jacob Zuma. Deborah Gembara reports.
President Obama didn't get to meet with Nelson Mandela during his two-day visit to South Africa but that didn't stop him from praising the former leader at every stop he made. After a meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama saying: "The struggle here against apartheid, for freedom, Madiba's moral courage, this country's historic transition to a free and democratic nation has been a personal inspiration to me, it has been an inspiration to the world and it continues to be. Speaking to students at the University of Johannesburg SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama saying: "He is on our minds today and we join the people of the world in sending our prayers to Madiba and his family because he still inspires us all." Obama's remarks appeared to have a similar effect on the crowd of student leaders. SOUNDBITE: Khutso Seete, Student saying: "The interactions was wonderful but it was a great one...He said to us, he will be giving opportunities that we can go to overseas and explore and get new skills so that we can come back and invest in Africa." A half-hour meeting with Mandela's family members, including his daughter Makaziwe, was the closest Obama came to the man he has called a hero. The two met years earlier when Obama was still a senator. The president, who traveled to Africa with his wife and daughters, had built the trip around a visit with the former South African leader but was forced to change course because of the 94-year-old leader's declining health.