Obama warns of 'strange and uncertain times' in Mandela tribute

Where you can watch Obama’s Nelson Mandela lecture online

"We see the utter loss of shame in political leaders when they're caught in a lie and they just double down and lie some more", Obama said, warning that the undermining of facts and reality could "be democracy's undoing".

He told the crowd that he is "not being alarmist [but] simply stating the facts". "If you start saying it's an elaborate hoax, I don't know where to start".

"I can't find common ground when someone says climate change is not happening".

"We need more hope because we are living in hard times", Nomsa Nkosi, 45, a blind woman in the audience, told AFP.

"Too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth".

"It sends a message that when you have been given a privilege to serve, if you do things that are untoward, no matter what position you serve in, you are no higher than the law", said Lumumba.

Tuesday's speech comes on the eve of "Mandela Day" - his birthday, which is marked around the world every year on July 18.

While not mentioning Donald Trump directly, Obama took aim at him saying he uses "politics of fear, resentment, retrenchment", likely referring to Trump's many, angry Twitter rants. And you can't do it if you insist that those who aren't like you because they are white or they are male, somehow there is no way they can understand what I'm feeling, that somehow they lack standing to speak on certain matters.

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Mr Trump said he and Mr Putin would discuss a range of issues, from trade to the military, along with missiles and China. Mr Putin took a ride in it from one building inside the Kremlin to another on his inauguration day in May.

Obama has shied away from public comment on Trump, whose administration has reversed or attacked what he would consider notable achievements of his presidency. "People just make stuff up".

"Politicians have always lied-but it used to be if you caught them lying, they'd be like "aw man", he said to laughter. "I believe in a vision of equality and justice and freedom and multiracial democracy built on the premise that all people are created equal and are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights". "Through his sacrifice and unwavering leadership and most of all through his moral example, Mandela and the movement he led would come to embody universal aspirations", Obama said.

Obama, back right, with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, back left, behind members of the Soweto Gospel Choir singing the South African national anthem, as Obama arrives at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The first was former president Bill Clinton who gave the inaugural annual lecture.

Former US president Barack Obama noted that democracy should be about more than just elections and who gets the most votes.

The former USA leader called on the crowd of 14,000 to remember Mandela's vision, "built on the premise that all people are created equal".

Mandela, who was released from prison in 1990 and became South Africa's first black president four years later, died in 2013, leaving a legacy of reconciliation and diversity along with a resistance to inequality, economic and otherwise.

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