Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu welcomed President Obama "home" on Sunday to the continent where his father was born. Tutu also asked the US president to be a leader for peace, especially in the Middle East.
The exchange was made on Sunday as Obama visited the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre, an after-school program in a community whose population has many HIV infected youths.
After being welcomed home, Obama praised Tutu's efforts for racial progress. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was known for helping bring South Africa's apartheid rule to an end.
In a speech during Obama's visit, Tutu praised the US president, who was re-elected to a second term in office in November. Tutu said of the event:
"You don't know what you did for our psyche. You won, and we won. Your success is our success. Your failure, whether you like it or not, is our failure."
Tutu went on to say that he hopes Obama will be known "as having brought peace to the world, especially to have brought an end to the anguish of all in the Middle East." He added, "You have brought peace and no need for the Guantanamo Bay detention center." The center is on a military base in Cuba, where the US detains suspected terrorists.
Along with meeting with Desmond Tutu, President Obama's trip to Africa has also included a visit to Robben Island prison, where Nelson Mandela spent almost 20 years as a political prisoner. The US president spent more than 20 minutes inside the small cell where Mandela stayed during his prison time.
Obama previously visited the island in 2006, when he was still a US senator, but the tour was a first for wife Michelle and his daughters, Sasha and Malia. Later on, Obama commented, "There was something different about bringing my children. I knew this was an experience they would never forget."
Along with his remarks, Obama signed the prison's guest book with a message form the family, saying, "The world is grateful for the heroes of Robben Island, who remind us that no shackles or cells can match the strength of the human spirit."
[Image via Cmdr. J.A. Surette, U.S. Navy]