Tag Archives: international relations

Obama’s popularity in Africa

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Mr. Obama in popular culture in Africa Uganda photos

The young rhino in Uganda’s Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary was the first baby rhino to be born in Uganda in 28 years. His mother is from the USA and his father is from Kenya. The Ugandans who imported his parents have named him, in an endearing way: Mr. Obama.Since the end of WWII, Barack Obama is likely the U.S.’s biggest public relations asset in the Third World. I was in Indonesia when he was elected for the first time in 2008, and I experienced the Indonesians’ jubilation because they considered him to be one of them. In the early 2000s, when I was visiting Indonesia and a few African countries, I saw a considerable number of Osama Bin Laden t-shirts, but now I see “Obama” restaurants, “Obama” beauty salons and “Obama” Unisex (haircuts for men and women) in Uganda. And while attending a show of the Ndere Troupe in Kampala, the moderator explained that Obama was an acronym for the phrase “Original Black African Managing America.” According to my friend Jantien Zuurbier, living in Kampala, the number of fans of Obama may have decreased somewhat since the last US elections, however on my many travels since the mid-1980s, I have never seen such strong feelings of friendship for the United States as I do now under Obama.The owner of this Obama restaurant serving Obama samosas (snacks, originally from India), however, was slightly suspicious of the inquisitive muzungu (white man) with camera; he may have thought I was a copyright infringement lawyer.

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