Michelle Obama embarks on Africa trip

2011-06-20 14:32

US First Lady Michelle Obama is en route to South Africa to kick off a six-day Africa visit during which she will meet anti-apartheid leaders and go on safari in Botswana.

President Barack Obama’s wife, their daughters Sasha and Malia, her mother Marian Robinson and two nephews departed Washington last night and were scheduled to arrive in South Africa around 8pm today.

They will meet symbols of the decades-long anti-apartheid struggle, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as well as the wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela, human right’s activist Graca Machel.

The presidential party will visit Pretoria and Cape Town before travelling to the Botswanan capital Gabarone and heading home to the United States on Sunday.

“Youth leadership, education, health and wellness” will be the focus of the trip, according to the White House, which confirmed the departure.

After meeting Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, the wife of South African president Jacob Zuma, tomorrow Obama will visit the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, where she will be given a tour by Machel.

There were no plans announced to visit Mandela, who at 92 is in fragile health, although the White House has left open the possibility of a meeting.


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