Obama returns to South Africa as Mandela's health remains uncertain
Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 01:30
June 27 - U.S. President Barack Obama is set to arrive for visit that is likely to be overshadowed by the uncertain health of South Africa hero Nelson Mandela. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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Flags on the streets of Pretoria as South Africa prepares to welcome U.S. President Barack Obama.
His visit comes at a time of tremendous uncertainly as former President Nelson Mandela remains in critical condition in the hospital
(SOUNDBITE)(English) JOHANNESBURG RESIDENT THABISSA SAYING:
"I think he can come, but I think maybe it should not be an official visit because at this time I think he should maybe respect what's actually happening and taking place in the country, because no-one can really focus on his visit right now."
Other see it as a time for Obama to say his farewells.
(SOUNDBITE)(English) JOHANNESBURG RESIDENT DAVID BRANDON SAYING:
"Mr. Mandela, in his current state, I just think it's a bad coincidence the timing of the visit, but maybe hopefully Obama can make time out of his schedule to go say hello and good-bye."
Obama made his first visit to Robben Island in 2006, before he become the U.S. president.
He entered a cell in the prison which once held Mandela.
As the first African American President, many Africans feel a special bond with Obama. But some Africans have been disappointed that his administration has not engaged with the continent as much as predecessors.
Obama aides said he will be available to visit Mandela but will defer to the wishes of the family.
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