Barack Obama in Africa

44 visits Kenya and South Africa to support his half-sister's new venture and pay tribute to Nelson Mandela.

For the first time since leaving the presidency, Barack Obama traveled to the continent of his father's birth — stopping in Kenya on July 16 to help open a charitable foundation run by his half sister, then traveling to South Africa the following day to make a major speech in honor of Nelson Mandela's 100 birthday. Here, a look at his visit. (Pictured: Obama with kids in Siaya County in Kenya.)

EXCITEMENT IN JOHANNESBURG GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images EXCITEMENT IN JOHANNESBURG Billboards outside the Wanderers cricket stadium announce Obama's speech there on July 17. He delivered the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, this year coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Mandela's birth (July 18), to an estimated crowd of 15,000. GREETING MANDELA'S WIDOW MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images GREETING MANDELA'S WIDOW Obama kisses the cheek of Graca Machel, who called both her late husband and the former U.S. president "symbols of victory over adversity."

More Stories From FOTO

'UNCERTAIN TIMES' GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images 'UNCERTAIN TIMES' Before reflecting on Mandela's legacy, Obama made reference to "the strange and uncertain times that we are in...with each day's news cycles bringing more head spinning and disturbing headlines." (His comments came amid news that his successor, President Donald J. Trump, seemingly bowed to Vladimir Putin despite evidence from U.S. intelligence that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.) WITH THE SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images WITH THE SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR Despite these turbulent days, Obama told his audience, "we've been through darker times. We've been through lower valleys." OBAMA IN KENYA TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images OBAMA IN KENYA Before the South African leg of his trip, Obama visited the East African nation in support of his half-sister, Auma Obama (left) — her newly opened Sauti Kuu Resource Centre aims to help children develop into self-reliant leaders. (Sauti Kuu is Swahili for "strong voices.") Auma is the daughter of Barack Obama Sr. and his first wife. FAMILY TIME TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images FAMILY TIME Obama with his step-grandmother Sarah (center) and half-sister Auma. HIS FATHER'S VILLAGE TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images HIS FATHER'S VILLAGE Obama speaks in front of a backdrop of Nyang'oma in Siaya County, where his father was raised. "It's a joy to be here with family," he said to those who'd gathered for the vocational center's opening. "And to be here with so many who claim to be my family." (Here, the former president is considered a native son, though he was born in Hawaii and did not visit Kenya for the first time until 1987.) WELCOMING 44 TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images WELCOMING 44 Residents of Nyang'oma line the road, waving American flags. WAVING TO THE CROWD TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images WAVING TO THE CROWD Obama on the move with his half sister Auma. While in Kenya, Obama also visited Nairobi, meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

For more FOTO stories directly in your inbox, sign up for our free weekly newsletter.