For the weeks leading up to Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration, many people expressed their enthusiasm for the first African American President. The excitement culminated on January 20th, 2009; the day that Barack Obama took the oath of Presidency of the USA. Dr Steve Sharra a Malawian blogger and educationist from Michigan State University changed his profile status with a quote from American film director Spike Lee: "The new calendar begins today. We're moving from the B.O era (Before Obama) into the A.O era (After Obama)" Many Malawians and Africans alike watched the inauguration on their Facebook accounts through live streaming from Cnn.com. At 12pm, the precise time when Barack Obama was sworn in as 44th President of the United States, Dumisani Kapanga, a Malawian currently living in the UK wrote on his Facebook status profile: "This confirms that all things are possible; from oppression, slavery to a black man leading the free world" Many young Africans are inspired and awed by President Obama's achievements and want to follow his steps. The son of an African immigrant who is now President-inspired Kapanga, a student at New Caledonian University to later add: "Wait till I become the first coloured British Prime Minister. Yes I can!"
Victor Chizinga, another African watching the Inauguration through Cnn.com and Facebook joined the chorus of countless praises by saying:"When u hear the name Obama, you can not tell me that your spirit,energy,attitude is not elevated to the highest positive level!" While watching the live internet stream, a Malawian girl living in Toronto, Canada wrote on her Facebook 'wall': "I am overwhelmed with joy by the magic happening south of the border. I am actually crying!"
Thom Chiumia, a journalist working for the Nyasa Times, an online news source calls Obama his hero and a hero to all Africans.
Not all African and Malawian Facebook users were thrilled with Obama's Presidency. Some like Kondwani Kamiyala compared the 44th American President to Zimbabwe's Leader, Robert Mugabe: "I'm wondering why all the fuss about Obama. How different is he from George Bush and Robert Mugabe?" said Kamiyala. His comment or question was responded almost immediately by others watching the historic Inauguration. One user said: "You responded well to yourself; you just said it mate. He's Obama and they are Mugabe and Bush and they are miserable failures" Mfana wa ku Malawi, another Facebook user responded to Kamiyala's comment with humor: "Bush is American, Mugabe is African, Obama is African-American. That's the difference mate!"
The majority of Africans and Malawians watching the Inaugurations felt like Gertrude Vumilia who said at the end of the ceremony: "I am happy to have witnessed this historic Inauguration. Obama is the man Africa needs. I believe in him and in Real Change"
In May 2009, Malawians will be heading to polls to elect their President democratically, only for the 4th time of their lives. The current President of Malawi Bingu wa Mutharika(DPP), Bakili Muluzi(UDF) and JZU Tembo(MCP) are among the candidates to the Malawian Presidential Election that has also drawn considerable attention from Malawians on social network sites like Facebook.
Caleb Phiri & Chimwemwe T (in Malawi), Postera Tenthani for MMALAWI BLOG
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