Theresa 'RoboMay' takes stiff turn on South Africa dance floor
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Theresa 'RoboMay' takes stiff turn on South Africa dance floor

Washington: 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.

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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 program for foreigners and will add 100 new slots for African students.

British Prime Minister Theresa dances with children during a visit to the ID Mkhize High School in Gugulethu, Cape Town, South Africa.

British Prime Minister Theresa dances with children during a visit to the ID Mkhize High School in Gugulethu, Cape Town, South Africa.Credit:AP

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 $US5.1 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." 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 programs 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.

And May's visit to South Africa comes shortly after Trump tweeted last week that he had asked the State Department to look into "large scale killing" of white South African farmers and government seizures of their land.

The president's claim was "a promotion of a white-nationalist conspiracy theory," and was widely denounced both at home and in South Africa. Data from South Africa shows that the number of people murdered on farms there has actually dropped significantly in recent years, the Associated Press reported.

May weighed in on the issue in Cape Town on Tuesday. "The UK has for some time now supported land reform," she said. "Land reform that is legal, that is transparent, that is generated through a democratic process."

That earned her criticism from Britain's populist UKIP party, which said in a statement that she endorses "racist land reform."

Washington Post