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Barack Obama's re-election reverberates far beyond US borders — so much so that citizens of some distant nations, like Pakistan and Turkey, say they too should have been able to vote. To give them a voice, GlobalPost interviewed people around the world for their views on the United States and who they hoped would win the election.

South Africa

US Election: What if South Africa could vote?

'Having a black face up there makes people feel like there’s less racial tension — although there isn’t, but it looks that way.'

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — As part of GlobalPost's project to interview 100 people in 20 locations around the world about the 2012 US election, we asked South Africans:

Who do you want to win the 2012 US election?

Will the election affect your country?

How has your view of the US changed since President Obama took office?

What should the next US president do?

 

  • Country: South Africa
  • Name: Maxwell Hlatshwayo
  • Occupation: Stationary and print shop assistant
  • Age: 36
  • I would vote for: Obama
My vote: "I think Obama is a good one, I think I could give him a second term. Not for his skin color, but for a change, because most of the time, every since we grew up, the USA has been ruled for a certain kind of people. I’m not trying to say they were bad, but we want to see other colors, how can they cope.
And his first term maybe was not enough — maybe if they can give him a second time, they might judge him based on the second term."

The election's impact: "I don’t think it will have any effect, because the US, Britain and South Africa have been linking even before, when South Africa was not a democracy. I don’t think it will make any difference."

My view: "I think it has improved, because he managed to capture that terrorist guy that Bush tried so hard to catch,
but for me I haven’t seen any difference."

Top priority: "Create jobs, and to have equality and no divisions."
  • Country: South Africa
  • Name: Willem Els
  • Occupation: Security manager
  • Age: 40
  • I would vote for: Undecided
My vote: "I would only have voted for Obama because I don’t know the other guy."
The election's impact: "I do not think that the president of America will have any effect, it’s more the American foreign policy that could have an effect on us."

My view: "My opinion of the US hasn’t changed at all.
I’m still of the opinion that if they discover oil in Kuruman [a town in South Africa’s Northern Cape province] next week, the Americans will invade South Africa."

Top Priority: "I think his main focus should be economic reform. He should also try to move away from an oil-based economy, and get some of those patents that were patented many years ago, that stay in the vaults of the Pentagon, and start developing more electric cars and environmentally friendly cars."
  • Country: South Africa
  • Name: Zaahir Hurribunce
  • Occupation: Student
  • Age: 18
  • I would vote for: Undecided
My vote: "I can’t answer that, I’m not American. I don’t really know."

The election's impact "Nah, I don’t think so."

My view: "I think it has improved with Obama. We know Bush started the whole nonsense with the Iraqis and whatnot, and Obama sorted it out." 

Top priority: "Sort out the debt." 
  • Country: South Africa
  • Name: Heinrich Albrecht
  • Occupation: Security duty manager for Gautrain
  • Age: 39
  • I would vote for: Romney
My vote: "For one, I don’t think Obama is going to last another term. So I would go for Romney."

The election's impact: "South Africa-wise, we’re merely a drop in the ocean. I don’t think the election will have an effect on our economy. We have our own problems at this stage to deal with just to uphold our own economy. So, no. I think we will watch what’s going on, but it won’t have an effect on us. "

My view: "The president of the US is, I think, sometimes manipulated by the Senate, by outcomes and decisions made by the Senate, so the standards of the US are still the same, the negotiations with other countries are still positive. I’ve got a great respect for the US, I like the country, I like the people, and I think it’s still the same."

Top priority: "What the whole world is facing now is the recession and the economic instability. I think if his approach is based on economic growth and settling unstable features, that would be regarded as a positive thing."
  • Country: South Africa
  • Name: Asanda Binase
  • Occupation: Retail professional
  • Age: 23
  • I would vote for: Obama
My vote: "I would probably vote for the Democrats. I live in a democratic state, so that’s how I’d vote."

The election's impact: "Economically there is always going to be some kind of effect, because whatever happens [on] that side [in the US], exchange rates will be affected."

My view: "I think it’s pretty much the same for me. Regardless of the race of the president, I think as long as the Democrats are running it, I think things are going pretty good. The person doesn’t matter as much as the party, as long as they are pushing the same sort of message to the people.
With us it hasn’t made much of a difference [having Obama as president for last four years], except maybe just having a black face up there makes people feel a little more comfortable, feel like there’s a lot less racial tension — although there isn’t, but it looks that way."

Top priority: "It’s a tough one. I think with most countries, poverty is going to be high on the list. But maybe, improving international connections, because the US comes off as a very powerful state — although we’re all aware of how much debt the state is in. I think just kind of familiarizing themselves better, and amalgamating themselves with us for example, because we root for the US a lot. "

GlobalPost series: See what the world thinks about election 2012

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/south-africa/120925/us-election-what-if-south-africa-could-vote