Lawrence Kim
July 18, 2018

"We see it in the growth of state-sponsored propaganda, we see it in internet-driven fabrications, in the blurring of lines between news and entertainment", Mr Obama said.

"I can't find common ground if somebody says that climate change just isn't happening, when nearly all the world's scientists tell us it is. There's something they're just afraid of", Obama said. "We have to believe in facts (another thing I didn't think I'd have to lecture about)", he said with a wry chuckle.

Obama, however, suggested that on Mandela's 100th birthday, the world now "stands a crossroad" and that the world should respond to threats to global democracy appropriately.

"It's on a move at a pace that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago".

On migration, he appeared to take a sharp jab at Trump saying "it is not wrong to insist that national borders matter. but that can't be an excuse for immigration policies based on race or ethnicity or religion".

Obama's speech came one day after President Donald Trump met Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Finland and spurred outcry among lawmakers and government officials in the United States. So we're going to have to consider new ways of thinking about these problems, like a universal income, review of our work week, how we retrain our young people, how we make everybody an entrepreneur at some level.

Former US president Barack Obama speaks at the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the Wanderers Cricket Stadium.

"And if you doubt that, just ask the French football team that just won the World Cup - because not all these folks look like Gauls to me, they are French, they are French", he stressed with a smile.

"Democracy depends on strong institutions and it's about minority rights, checks and balances, freedom of speech, freedom of express and a free press".

Obama was joined on stage by President Cyril Ramaphosa who also received a standing ovation and cheers from the crowd, Mandela's widow Graça Machel and businessman Patrice Motsepe.

"Even in the United States, founded on the declaration that all men are created equal, racial segregation and discrimination was a law in nearly half the country and the norm in throughout the rest", he continued.

Before arriving in South Africa, Obama paid a brief visit to Kenya, his father's home country.

Imprisoned for almost three decades for his fight against state-sanctioned racial segregation, he was freed in 1990 and quickly set about working to unite the nation through forgiveness and reconciliation, becoming South Africa's first black president.

"And I believe that a world governed by such principles is possible and that it can achieve more peace and more cooperation in pursuits of a common good".

He noted the "utter loss of shame among political leaders when they're caught in a lie and they just double down and lie some more", warning that the denial of facts - such as climate change - could be the undoing of democracy.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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