Winnie & Co. celebrate as Romney concedes defeat

2012-11-07 06:28

It was a short conversation between newly-elected president Barack Obama and Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney that ended the race for the American presidency shortly before 8am (SA time) today.

Not every vote had been counted yet, but preliminary results showed an undisputed victory for Obama and Romney put in a “short and courteous” phone call to Obama to congratulate him and concede defeat.

At Hill House, the US ambassador’s residence in Pretoria, the Pierre Jourdan sparkling wine replaced the endless cups of coffee the assembled embassy staff, election watchers, politicians and journalists had been guzzling since 5am.

Ambassador Donald Gips pulled out all the stops, with red-and-blue buttons, election material and mountains of food and drink, to host the crowd in style.

ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, activist Elinor Sisulu and presidential advisor Lindiwe Zulu came to celebrate, and expressed “extreme relief” when it became clear Obama would lead the US for another term.

Gips reached for his Democrat cap when CNN declared on the massive TV screen in the entertainment area that Obama would win.

He said Obama wants to visit South Africa during his second term, and was disappointed when he could not join his wife, Michelle, and their family on a trip to South Africa last year.

Madikizela-Mandela told City Press South Africa had “much to learn” from Obama and how America does democracy.

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