Wednesday, November 14, 2012

South Africa's Response to the Election

   We just got the U.S. election results here in Gonubie.  It seems most of the people I’ve talked to in South Africa like Obama but dislike the Bush presidents whom they hold responsible for starting the Gulf Wars.  We drove up to East London yesterday and are now settled in our flat.  We have a PEF teacher training class tonight at 7;00 p.m. and another one in Queenstown at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. 

   We asked the Fowers how their efforts to put a computer lab in a primary school was going.  The principal had it lined up complete with a computer technician from Germany.  However her teachers vetoed to project opting to put that money into more class rooms.  They felt that  55 kids in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades were just too many.  

  We enjoyed a successful meeting in East London with seven PEF teachers last night.  Elder S. did a great job of explaining the PEF program even providing many handouts (which I thought was overkill) for the teachers, ward leaders and potential students.  Turns out it was just what they needed.  Sister Dixon said, “I’m a convert.  You people use terms that many of us do not understand.  Thanks for explaining PEF and for all the help you have given us.”  When we suggested that each ward provide a mentor for students who are not passing their classes she said, “When would they have time?”  People who have jobs often work 12 hours a day.  Some even work seven days a week.

  I thought you might be interested in hearing what the Daily Dispatch says about the election.  Under a photo of an old woman with a security officer,  we read: “Presidental Gran:  Kenyan Sharah Hussein Obama, grandmother to US President Barack Obama, is escorted as she celebrates his re-election yesterday in his ancestral home village of Nyangoma Kogelo, 430km west of Kenya’s capital Nairobi. “ 

Turning economic tide lifted Obama an article underneath reads, “Changing US demographics also played a key role.  The article claims that single women, Latinos, African-Americans, blue-collar union workers and upper-educated whites made all the difference, “Although Republican Mitt Romney did better with independent voters than Obama Tuesday, that advantage was wiped out in battleground states by Obama’s core coalition.”  

Another article entitled, US election lesson for us states:    Though Obama’s majority of popular vote was wafer think, American returned their first African American president for a second term. . .  The campaign was expensive, brutal and, in the right wing efforts to discredit Obama, sometimes overtly racist.  In the end the American chose the man whose character, record and policies most appealed to them.  If there is one thing we should take from the complex American process, it is the opportunity to directly choose a particular man or woman to lead our country.  . ..  We believe South Africa would be better served by a system that allowed voters to express a direct preference without being locked into a party mandate or having to delegate their final choice to a party, as is the case here now.  Our next present will be chosen in six weeks time by just 4500 delegates to the ANC’s conference and they won’t even by bound by the mandates of the branch that sent them. . .  We need a system that requires candidates to declare their positions on what they would do to make South Africa better. . .  We would like our candidates to have to do the same.”  Nice to know that many countries believe the U.S. system of popular vote is  the best way to elect a president.

   From an article on the front page:  “The re-election of Barack Obama for a second term was generally welcomed around the world, including South Africa. . .  Both President Zuma and Nelson Mandela Center congratulated him on his reelection.  “We value our relations with the United States and look forward to strengthening bilateral cooperation in the years to come,” said President Jacob Zuma in a message on behalf of the South African government.  He said the US had an important role to play in Africa’s development. And that the US was a vital partner in Africa’s efforts to overcome poverty and inequality.  . . Tom McGrath, president of Republicans Abroad France conceded;  “It’s clear if they could vote, Europe would vote 80% for Obama.  Pakistani Taliban spokesman did not express happiness about Obama’s victory.  In China, Obama’s re-election was good new for people concerned about Mitt Romneys vow to label China a currency manipulator.  Some feared that would ignite a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.”  Love and Blessings, Sister S.

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