Obama is a big deal in Africa
IvyTodd (Daily Kos) posts an essay about his/her take on Obama from the perspective of a "White" traveling in Africa.
Almost too often, as I spent my two weeks in Tanzania, people would, upon finding out I was from America, say "Obama." It wasn’t merely a noun, or an exclamation, but a statement. Children would cross the street, the oldest would ask if I was from America, then the whole group would shout "Obama!" An older man, would ask the same, calmly state "Obama" and nod. Obama. Obama! OBAMA!!! I felt like the coolest kid in school, that all those years of being an unnoticed nobody at Kopachuck Middle School were all reversed. All because I came from America, the place where Obama was from. One of John McCain’s many campaign boo-boos was the ad mocking Obama for being the biggest celebrity in the world. Now, Obama is.
A hundred miles from the nearest electrical outlet, even further from the nearest high-speed internet line, a camp attendant in the middle of the Serengeti wanted to talk with me about Obama. I often asked, what does Obama mean to you, a few would try to give sophisticated answers, but it was that he was African. He looked more like him than I. The most powerful man in the world is not white, his relatives live in a village that hugs the equator, his name isn’t Christian.
I don’t know if the pride that so many Tanzanians feel about Obama is because he is a role model, or for the first time in the modern age, the most powerful person in the world, was not white. And I don’t know if this gives so many of them hope, if not the courage to tackle the incessant problems that ill much of Africa. Or if it will even change a damn thing.