Malcolm in Denver: An African perspective

Back home in England, two sets of good friends got married on Sunday. I chose to be in Denver and with the Democrats at this time, but it still makes me a little sad to be missing these happy occasions and time spent with friends. So mazel tov and I’m thinking of you Danny, and Arry & Keith.

But something does connect these friends, Denver and Obama: Africa. Africans. And the audacity of hope. Arry I first met whilst living in Tanzania; Keith when campaigning on drop the debt and other international social justice issues; and Danny on the British Council’s Interaction leadership programme, which has at its heart the philosophy of ubuntu and the celebration of what’s good from and we can learn from the continent.

Danny and I spent a week in Zambia, attending a conference with 200 community leaders from across Africa. That was back last October, and already the positive support for Obama amongst the delegates there was papable. They were proud of Obama - his Kenyan roots, his dark skin - and they were excited by his message. And the ‘audacity of hope’ that Obama wrote about was very much part of their lives and resonated hugely with them.

That overwhemingly positive reaction continues to this day. Even the Senegalese taxi driver who i just got a lift from on Sunday evening enthused about Obama and the opportunities that his presidency might open up - in foreign relations, in community relations, and in the self-worth (and maybe even real-worth) of Africans.

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