Obama's acknowledgement of debt to the ANC is rather ironic because, when he was in South Africa, he could not get an audience with then president Thabo Mbeki.
It is widely believed that the reason was because he publicly criticised Mbeki's quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe and his dissident views on Aids.
While visiting the Aids ward of a Cape Town hospital, Obama said he was waiting for an audience with Mbeki to tell him that "the first place to start solving this is finally acknowledging the scope of the problem". The meeting with Mbeki was cancelled at the last moment.
This week President Kgalema Motlanthe warmly welcomed Obama's election as US president, saying he hoped it would "indeed contribute significantly to efforts in the continent of Africa to help bring about 'change they can believe in' to create a better life for all".
The contrast between then and now was not as great as Obama's mixed reception from President Mwai Kibaki's Kenyan government.
Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, visited that country after South Africa in 2006 and was greeted as a messiah.
But, after he lashed government corruption in a public speech, Kibaki's spokesperson called him an "immature opposition puppet" who "doesn't understand Kenyan politics".
full story from IOL here