President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa this evening to attend former South African President Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.
The memorial service for the South African anti-apartheid icon will be held on Tuesday at the FNB Stadium, ahead of his final send-off at his rural home in Qunu, Eastern Cape on December 15.
Over 50 world leaders, including US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, will also attend the memorial service to pay their last respect to one of the world’s greatest –Nelson Mandela. Following the large number of high profile dignitaries expected at the service, security is at its peak in South Africa.
In his condolence message to President Jacob Zuma and the people of South Africa on Friday, President Kenyatta described the former South African President as an exceptionally transformational leader who was gifted with unique, admirable abilities and strong values.
“He believed in the noble principles of equity, justice, cohesiveness and inclusiveness in governance. He had faith and confidence in the ability of his people to realize the dream of a free, united and prosperous South Africa,” President Kenyatta said.
The President said Mandela lived and worked for a world in which people should live together in peace and tranquility regardless of colour, race or religion.
He said the African patriarch’s strong belief in Africa and its people epitomized the best of the Pan-Africanism spirit.
“His courage to confront apartheid transcended across the world and propelled the fight against colonialism and discrimination,” President Kenyatta said.
The plane carrying the Kenyan Head of State and his delegation touched down at Waterkloof Military Airbase in Pretoria shortly after 9.00 p.m. South African time.
At the memorial service for Nelson Mandela today, Michelle Obama was photographed looking not amused with her husband and his friendly relationship with the blonde prime minister from Denmark, so much so that she may have switched seats with him. A lot of that is us reading and creating some magic presidential fan-fic, and part of it stems from people finding something fun from the very serious event.
Let’s be clear right now and say the faces Michelle Obama makes — and whether they’re directed at fair-haired PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt — was not the most important thing to happen at the Mandela service today (for more on that click here). But it was kinda fun. That said, here’s our completely unscientific analysis and explainer on Gucci-Gate:
‘Gucci Helle’ a.k.a. Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Until today, many Americans probably did not know who Thorning-Schmidt is. She is, in fact, the prime minister of the majestic country of Denmark and has held that position since October 2011. According to the BBC, her gender wasn’t really harped on during her campaign or election season, but people seemed to notice that she had a taste for expensive things. The BBC explains:
While her gender may not have been hugely significant in the campaign, her stylish appearance and taste for designer clothes have come under fire as being inappropriate for the leader of a traditional workers’ party, earning her the nickname Gucci Helle.
Gucci Helle sounds like the name of Gucci Mane’s sister from a different mister, who may or may not walk around in mink coats. But, alas, Thorning-Schmidt does not appear to be a rapper.
Michelle Obama is not making eye-contact here. But she could just have been paying attention to the memorial service, which is what our mothers have taught us all to do when you’re at a memorial service for one of the most respected men that has ever walked the earth.
Gucci Helle and President Obama’s Touchy-Feely Relationship
Fine, fine, maybe Michelle wasn’t throwing shade while three world leaders who command armies and people and things decided to act like 16-year-olds with their phones. But it’s a bit harder to explain the shade and side eye and not fun Michelle was having when Gucci was making jokes and petting her husband:
Michelle is looking annoyed there for very good reason — funeral programs, even in Mandela’s case, are not very interesting. Nor do they need to be explained. And it looks like that Gucci Helle is asking a question like, “So when are you speaking?” or “Who’s that guy?” or “What’s that guy’s name?”
Gucci Helle runs part of the world. So does Obama. There is nothing on that program that a woman who runs a country wouldn’t know the answer to. There is nothing on that program that Barack Obama wouldn’t know the answer to either. It is not an instruction manual to the Malm Ikea bed, it is a program that you read that tells you what time and what people are speaking:
Michelle Obama knows this. Again:
At this point, Gucci or Obama may have said something funny. And both are now laughing or at least smiling politely. Again, Michelle Obama’s side eye here could be because she doesn’t think jokes are appropriate at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. Or she knows that nothing in a funeral program, or a joke about a funeral program, or a joke about a dignitary named in the program is that funny. Michelle still is not amused:
Despite these side eyes, Barack and Gucci kept whispering. It is perfectly reasonable to be annoyed when your significant other is whispering to someone when he or she is less than three feet away from you. Barack, why are you whispering? Stop whispering:
But maybe this is a funny joke about David Cameron? Anyways, that’s three or four shots of Michelle Obama looking mildly irritated that a lady is speaking or flirting with her husband. If this were done at a real-life party, Michelle Obama would have asked Barack to grab her a drink and then started conversation with Gucci Helle herself and put her body in between the Gucci and Barack — it’s a switcheroo or a bait and switch. A flirtation buffer of sorts.
After President Obama left, when Michelle Obama saw the opportunity to pull off the switch. Here’s Michelle cordially engaging Gucci, daring Gucci to test her Danish sense of humor on someone her own gender:
“I’m going to come closer. I can’t hear your meek Danish voice from over there,” Michelle Obama’s probably saying, but her eyes say otherwise. Also, Eric Holder, is pretending not to witness the smooth move that’s about to occur. And boom — the switch:
Of course, it could just be that people like Michelle Obama just make serious faces and sometimes serious faces look like mad faces, and journalists are just having fun in all the wrong places. Or maybe not…
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Uruguay’s Senate approved the world’s first national marketplace for legal marijuana Tuesday, an audacious and risky experiment that puts the government in charge of growing, selling and using a drug that is illegal almost everywhere else.
The vote was 16 to 13, with the governing Broad Front majority united in favor. The plan now awaits the signature of President Jose Mujica, who wants the market to begin operating next year.
Two-thirds of Uruguayans oppose a government-run marijuana industry, according to opinion polls. But Mujica said he’s convinced the global drug war is a failure and feels bureaucrats can do a better job of containing addictions and beating organized crime than police, soldiers and prison guards.
“Today is an historic day. Many countries of Latin America, and many governments, will take this law as an example,” cheered Sen. Constanza Moreira, voting with the Broad Front majority.