Obama trip to Robben Island off

2011-06-23 12:11

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Cape Town - US First Lady Michelle Obama kicks off the last leg of her South African tour in Cape Town on Thursday, where she will meet with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu.

However her planned tour of the apartheid prison Robben Island, which once held Nelson Mandela, was cancelled due to bad weather that made the journey by ferry impossible.

"My understanding is that the visit was cancelled due to bad weather. There are lots of swells. I know she was looking forward to that [Robben Island trip]," said US embassy spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau.

Instead, she toured the District Six Museum, on the outskirts of the CBD.

Later Obama planned to meet with local education officials and youth at the University of Cape Town, where she was to bring along a group of students from poor neighbourhoods.

She will complete her day with a visit to the Cape Town Soccer Stadium where she will meet Tutu and kick around a ball with local children.

Obama arrived in the country on Monday along with her daughters Malia and Sasha and her mother Marian Robinson.

The trip has honoured the icons of the freedom struggle.

Highlights of visit

On Wednesday she visited Regina Mundi church, which was once a haven in Soweto for activists fighting apartheid.

From the pulpit she delivered a speech to more than 2 000 people where she tapped into the memory of South Africa's liberation struggle and the American civil rights movement to encourage young leaders.

About 70 young women from across the African continent were brought to Soweto to hear the speech and meet Obama, who urged them to pursue projects from stopping AIDS to fighting corruption.

She then visited the Hector Pieterson Memorial where she laid a wreath and observed a moment of silence with Pieterson's sister.

But the highlight of their tour came on Tuesday, when Obama's family was granted a rare meeting with Nelson Mandela at his Johannesburg home.

After Cape Town, Obama and her family leave Friday for neighbouring Botswana, where they will go on safari on Saturday.
- SAPA
Read more on:    michelle obama  |  desmond tutu  |  cape town
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