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Africa Celebrates Barack Obama's Victory

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Nelson Mandela has added his letter of congratulations to the flood of messages reaching Barack Obama from all over the world, including a very proud Africa. Mandela, of course, was South Africa's first black president. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is in southern Africa in Zimbabwe.

OFEIBEA QUIST: Africa has been rooting for Barack Obama from the very moment he announced he was running for president of the United States. Now, the election victory of this son of a Kenyan father is being celebrated and savored all over the continent. Many here in Zimbabwe praise Obama for an inspirational and peaceful campaign, galvanizing young people to vote and advocating national unity and togetherness. In this divided country that witnessed pre and post-election violence earlier this year, Obama's message of hope, harmony, and change is poignant. Jose Omaka(ph) is a hotel worker here in the capital, Harare.

MONTAGNE: You see, it's great for the African people as well. It means peace, peace in the whole world, in Zimbabwe, in Africa, in Iraq. Oh, in Iraq, I'll be happy if there is peace in Iraq, yes.

QUIST: Among some Africans, there are great hopes and expectations that an Obama administration will help the world's poorest continent. Many have to be reminded that Obama is the president-elect of America despite his paternal African roots. But the feeling here in Africa is that Barack Obama has an open mind and will cooperate with other countries and continents. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Harare. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is an award-winning broadcaster from Ghana and is NPR's Africa Correspondent. She describes herself as a "jobbing journalist"—who's often on the hoof, reporting from somewhere.