Johannesburg - Barack Obama's much-anticipated address at the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture is expected at around 14:45 on Tuesday afternoon, where Obama will pay tribute to South Africa's late statesman.
To honour the centennial of Madiba’s birth, the lecture’s theme will be “Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World”.
The lecture will focus on creating conditions for bridging divides, working across ideological lines, and resisting oppression and inequality. World leaders, ministers and members of the public are expected to attend the lecture.
This will be Obama's first major public address since officially stepping down as US president in January last year following the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
Obama will be introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa 10 minutes before Obama takes to the podium, after Ramaphosa's brief talk about Mandela's impact as the country's former president.
The guest list for the lecture is laden with renowned world leaders, who include Liberian Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first woman president; Kofi Annan, Africa's first secretary-general of the UN; as well as Ban Ki-moon, the UN's current leader, among other people.
Obama gained global prominence when he delivered a rousing keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 when he was still a senator from Illinois. Four years later, he was elected as the US's 44th president and its first black president, serving his full quota of eight years over two terms. He gave a moving the Nelson Mandela Foundation said it chose Obama for his passion in active global citizenship.
Former speakers at the lecture, which began in 2003, include Sirleaf, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, as well as former US president Bill Clinton, who gave the inaugural address.
The NMAL programme will conclude with a musical tribute from various artists, including Thandiswa Mazwai, Black Mambazo and the Soweto Gospel Choir, which will also sing the South African national anthem to open proceedings.