Jacquelyn Martin / AP
South African jazz singer Judith Sephuma, left, invites U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to dance with her to African music at a gala dinner hosted by South Africa's Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, not pictured at the Sefako M. Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012.
By Cara Maresca
Hillary Clinton got down on the dance floor in Pretoria, South Africa Tuesday night.
The Secretary of State was captured dancing to jazz music at a dinner hosted by South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Fellow guests formed a circle around Clinton and cheered her on as she shimmied with singer Judith Sephuma.
Her latest show of letting loose comes on the heels of another dance: Clinton grooved with local farmers in Malawi on Sunday.
Clinton’s apparent affinity for cutting a rug only adds to the Secretary’s new “hip” image – in just the past few months, Clinton became an internet Meme sensation, downed a beer in Cartagena, and even ditched her infamous scrunchie.
But Clinton’s trip – an 11-day tour that has taken her to Senegal, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Malawi, and South Africa thus far – hasn’t been a non-stop party. In South Africa on Monday, Secretary Clinton paid a visit to former President Nelson Mandela, who has seen few visitors besides his family in recent years, due to his failing health. Clinton praised her 94-year-old friend’s “beautiful smile” at his home in Qunu.
Jacquelyn Martin / AP
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, 94, and his wife Graca Machel at his home in Qunu, South Africa, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012.
And today, speaking at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa, Secretary Clinton ended her remarks with a story about Mandela that the State Department says was not part of her prepared remarks, but rather, “Hillary Clinton unplugged.” Clinton recounted a meeting with Mandela in 1994:
“There were so many important people there… There were kings and prime ministers and presidents. And when Mandela stood to greet us all and welcome us to that lunch, he said, ‘I know you are all very important people… But the three most important people to me here in this vast assembly are three men who were my jailers on Robben Island. … In the midst of the terrible conditions in which I was held for so many years, each of those men saw me as a human being. They treated me with dignity and respect. They talked to me, they listened, and when I walked out of prison I knew I had a choice to make. I could carry the bitterness and the hatred of what had been done to me in my heart forever. And I would still be in prison. Or I could begin to reconcile the feelings inside myself with my fellow human beings.’ That is the true legacy of President Mandela…”
Earlier in the day, Clinton joined South Africa’s Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi in a visit to the Delft South Clinic on the outskirts of Capetown, which highlighted America’s partnership with South Africa on HIV/AIDS and TB. Clinton told the crowd gathered there that she was “impressed” and “very grateful” for what the clinic has done over the past few years.
And, true to hip-Hillary form, she joked, “I am going to be immediately texting my husband about what I have seen here.”