30 July 2014

South Africa: U.S. Ambassador Patrick Gaspard, Up Close and Pretty Personal


The Daily Maverick's J. BROOKS SPECTOR sat down with US Ambassador Patrick Gaspard for a wide-ranging conversation recently, just prior to the ambassador's return to Washington to participate in the US - African Leaders Summit in early August.

We are sitting on the sunlight veranda of a Johannesburg restaurant. Ambassador Patrick Gaspard is sipping lemon tea, trying to hold back a nasty winter head cold, courtesy of Johannesburg's recent bout of chilly weather, as he contemplates a transatlantic trip back to the US to take part in the upcoming US - Africa Leaders Summit, 4-6 August, in Washington. Barack Obama's administration has scheduled this gathering as part of an effort to build stronger ties between the US and this continent as "Africa: the hopeless continent" has come to be replaced by the more positive trope, "Africa Rising", over the past several years.

Nevertheless, Gaspard settles in for a convivial conversation about both US policy and himself. Throughout this conversation he avoids falling back into the usual Washington policy-speak so common among officials speaking for attribution.

Gaspard has a rather atypical background for an ambassador. He originally wanted to be a student of comparative literature, he wrote - and still writes...

Copyright © 2014 Daily Maverick. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.