In an event hosted by the Obama Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Wednesday, former President Barack Obama urged women to get more involved in politics, because “men have been getting on [his] nerves lately.” According to the Huffington Post, the comment came after he was asked what women can do to have an impact on the current climate in South Africa.
“I mean, every day I read the newspaper and I just think like, ‘Brothers, what’s wrong with you guys? What’s wrong with us?’ I mean, we’re violent, we’re bullying. You know, just not handling our business. So I think empowering more women on the continent ― that right away is going to lead to some better policies,” Obama continued.
He addressed more than 200 people who are from the African Leadership Academy. Many of the questions he received were about politics, and he said that neither women nor men can afford to ignore politics, according to The Hill.
“The one thing you can’t do is pretend that politics doesn’t matter and say to yourself ‘that’s too corrupt, that’s too broken, I’m not going to get involved in it’ because at some point if you are ambitious about what you are doing in your home country, you will confront politics.”
According to Politico, more than 575 women have recently announced their run for office at either the local or federal level. Many perceive the influx of female candidates to be due to the combination of Trump’s presidency, heightened awareness of sexual harassment, and the feeling of female-centric issues going unaddressed.
The town hall comes after Obama opened up about President Trump and his feelings towards the current administration at the 16th annual Nelson Mandela Lecture. He noted that the desire to “make stuff up” is rampant, that the news media is being attacked, and that social media is being used not as a vehicle for knowledge but as a platform to promote hatred, according to The Atlantic.
Many of Obama’s supporters have felt frustrated with the former president, who was recently voted the best president of our lifetime, and his lack of response to the Trump administration’s actions. But he pulled no punches in this speech, speaking about “state-sponsored propaganda” and the “threat of a return to an older, more dangerous, more brutal way of doing business.”
After the speeches in Johannesburg, Obama arrived in Kenya, his father’s home country, for the first time since leaving office.