President Joe Biden hosted the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., from 13 to 15 December 2022. To our knowledge, with the 49 African countries represented, the attendance was the largest gathering of African Heads of State and Government ever with a U.S. President. For President Biden, it is already a numerical personal success.
A deserved one given Africans’ memory of his firm, consistent, anti-Apartheid stance since he first became Senator of the State of Delaware on 3 January 1973, a position he will hold, after multiple reelections, until he took his current office as the U.S. 46th President, on 20 January 2020.
In July 1986, he vigorously confronted then-U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz during a hearing at the Senate. With sharp words and expressive body language, Senator Biden criticized the U.S. government’s complacency towards the apartheid regime in South Africa. He rejected all the excuses Shultz and President Ronald Reagan’s administration he was representing tried to advance to justify the U.S. government’s policy regarding South Africa. A policy the Senator found despicable because it “lacks a moral backbone.” A video of the exchange is available on Youtube.
Senator Biden did not hesitate to challenge apartheid directly, physically. In 1976, a decade before his clash with George Schulz the Senator went to South Africa. There, segregation was then the law of the land: Whites on this side, the best; the Asians and biracial people on that side; and the Blacks on the rear place, the worst. In Johannesburg, Senator Biden openly violated the law, forcing the South African authorities to accept that he, a White man, will remain always with his Black colleagues….