These days "we see much of the world threatening to return to a more risky, more brutal way of business", Obama said. "I am not being alarmist I am simply stating the facts", he said, adding that "strongmen politics" are suddenly ascending. "If you start saying it is an elaborate hoax, where do we start?"
Without mentioning Trump by name, Obama said that we "are living in unusual and uncertain times".
Obama rallied the crowd in Johannesburg to respect human rights and keep Mandela's ideas alive, at a time of threats to tear down what's been built over the last few decades.
"Unfortunately, too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth", he said.
"Let me tell you what I believe", he said.
The President flip-flopped on his stance on the matter, having said a year ago he believed Russian Federation was behind the interference, but back-pedaling Monday to claim he believed Putin's account that Russian Federation was not involved. "People just make stuff up".
Obama was speaking at the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg this week when he praised the principles of a government mandated income; saying it would help alleviate the plights of those unable to find work or unable to feed their families.
"Democracy depends on strong institutions", Obama said, calling on people to reject election results where "the victor somehow gets 90 percent of the vote because all of the opposition is locked up or can't get on TV".
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Obama's speech noted how Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years, kept up his campaign against what appeared to be insurmountable odds to end apartheid, South Africa's harsh system of white minority rule.
Former President Barack Obama, in a speech honoring the late South African leader Nelson Mandela, said he'd try to "get some perspective" as news cycles bring "more head-spinning and disturbing headlines".
"Of young and old, of both men and women, of black and white", she said of both leaders.
Obama has shied away from public comment on Trump, whose administration has reversed or attacked notable achievements of his predecessor.
Obama arrived at the cavernous Wanderers Cricket Stadium to a standing ovation and a joyful performance of the South African anthem by the Soweto Gospel Choir.
The former president used the speech as an opportunity to outline what he views as troubling trends in the political arena at present.
This is Obama's first visit to Africa since he left office in early 2017.
"I do not believe In economic determinism".
Imprisoned for almost three decades for his fight against state-sanctioned racial segregation, he was freed in 1990 and quickly set about working to unite the nation through forgiveness and reconciliation, becoming South Africa's first black president.