Since leaving office what feels like six lifetimes ago, former president Barack Obama has been keeping busy with the Obama Foundation and raising voices of promising young leaders all over the world. His latest trip took him to Johannesburg to meet a new generation of bright young things and in a pointed speech, he told them candidly that ‘men have been getting on my nerves recently’.
It wasn’t just an offhand remark, as he called for more women to be more active in social movements and governing bodies. He said, ‘Women in particular by the way, I want you to get more involved. Because men have been getting on my nerves lately. Everyday, I read the newspaper and just think like, ‘Brothers, what’s wrong with you guys?’ What’s wrong with us? We’re violent, we’re bullying. Just not handling our business.’
More than 200 students chosen to be part of the Obama Foundation Leaders programme attended his town hall, spanning from 44 different African countries.
‘I think empowering more women on the content, that… is going to lead to some better policies,’ he continued.
While Obama’s statement may have been intended for the young leaders in the room, it’s not too hard to read between the lines and see the thinly veiled jab at his successor Donald Trump. Just days before, Trump stirred controversy when he defended Putin against allegations of interference in the American election at a meeting in Helsinki leading some to claim he had committed treason against the United States.
The day after Trump’s meeting with Putin, Obama was less coy and blasted ‘the utter loss of shame among political leaders’ and ‘strongman politics’ during his delivery of the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture.
He said, ‘We see the utter loss of shame among political leaders where they’re caught in a lie and they just double down and they lie some more. Politicians have always lied, but it used to be if you caught them lying they’d be like, ‘Oh man.’ Now they just keep on lying.’
Tell us how you really feel, Obama.
And while you’re at it, can you check if Michelle’s doing anything and available for a senior four year role in American politics? Asking for a friend.