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Africa

UK PM goes full ‘RoboMay’ in awkward dance with students during South Africa visit

Prime minister attracts mixed reviews for her tentative dance steps

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2018, 1:03pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2018, 2:21pm

Some of Theresa May’s critics already call her “RoboMay” claiming the British prime minister moves so awkwardly that she comes off as robotic.

So it isn’t shocking that the South African government tweeting a video clip of her dancing with students in Cape Town on Tuesday slightly overshadowed her trade-focused trip to South Africa.

In the video, she stiffly moves back and forth as a group of children dances across from her, her leopard-print shoes tapping this way and that.

The short clip became a Twitter moment, with social media users calling her moves “dad dancing” and “painful”.

“Theresa May dances like she’s had her freedom of movement surgically removed,” one user wrote.

South Africa is the first stop on a trip that will also take May to Kenya and Nigeria. It’s her first visit to Africa since taking office in 2016; she’s there to promote trade with Britain as the country prepares for Brexit.

On her visit to the school in Cape Town, she also announced that Britain will expand an existing scholarship programme for foreigners and will add 100 new slots for African students.

Britain is eager to expand its investment in Africa, as it competes with the United States, China, France and others for influence on the continent.

In Cape Town, May said the British government plans to invest around US$5.1 billion in the continent and that by 2022, she hopes Britain will be “the G7′s number one investor in Africa, with Britain’s private sector companies taking the lead in investing the billions that will see Africa’s economies grow by trillions.”

Theresa May kicks off first Africa tour as Britain’s PM, vows to be ‘number one investor’

That would mean investing more than both the United States and France, which is also seeking to boost its involvement in Africa.

She also said she plans to use British aid programmes to help prevent illegal migration and organised crime.

At a news conference, May insisted that Britain is not “late to the party” on investment across the continent.

But according to Quartz Africa, senior Chinese leaders visited Africa 79 times between 2007 and 2017, making it to 43 countries – including South Africa multiple times.

President Donald Trump has yet to visit Africa, although first lady Melania Trump said she will make a trip to the continent this fall. It’s not yet clear which countries she will visit.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited Nigeria in July on a trip that included a charm offensive visit to Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti’s concert hall, The Shrine.

When May meets with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday, he will be fresh back from meeting President Trump in Washington.