Capetonians follow U.S. race closely, offer support for Obama

Brown Daily Herald   Monday, November 5 2012

Hannah Abelow '14

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — “Michelle Obama ate lunch next door,” bragged a shopkeeper selling an odd assortment of antiques and vintage knick-knacks in the gentrifyingCape Town neighborhood of Woodstock. “They had Secret Service here, in my shop! Can you believe it? And snipers in that building across the street,” he added.

Exclamations like this can be heard around the city when the topic of American politics arises. Capetonians from all walks of life treat the Obamas with a certain air of celebrity.

1208 “The fact that Obama is a black guy plays into the interest shown by regular South Africans,” said Vinayak Bhardwaj, who has lived in Cape Town for nearly eight years. “Not just that he’s a black guy — he’s good looking, suave, et cetera. He connects the way Bill Clinton connected with ordinary people.”

Originally from Zimbabwe, Bhardwaj works part-time for the investigative journalism unit at the Mail and Guardian — South Africa’s premier news source — and follows American politics avidly. His interest in American politics more on the Brown Daily Herald website