The White House offered a preview Wednesday of first lady Michelle Obama’s trip to Africa from June 21-26. During her second official solo trip, Obama will visit Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, South Africa, and Gaborone, Botswana. Her mother, Marian Robinson, daughters Malia and Sasha, and her brother’s two children will accompany her. The trip is a continuation of the first lady’s efforts to engage young people, particularly girls and young women, in the U.S, and abroad. (Related: First Lady to Appear on 106 & Park)
The historic visit will be filmed by BET News, which will later air a special called "Impact Africa: On a Mission With the First Lady," which will include exclusive footage of the first lady and her family in Africa.
In Pretoria, Obama will meet with her South African counterpart, Nompumeleo Ntuli-Zuma and attend a reception with South African leaders at the U.S. embassy. Later, she and her family will participate in a tour at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, led by Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, who was once first lady of Mozambique. Obama also will visit the Apartheid Museum before heading to Soweto township to deliver the keynote address at a forum for young women leaders and will honor Mandela’s legacy by visiting Robben Island, where he was imprisoned for 18 years.
“This trip by the first lady is very directly connected to the president’s agenda in Africa and the Obama administration’s foreign policy in Africa. So it’s a very unique opportunity for the first lady to address issues associated with young people that she has taken on both here and around the world that entirely converge with our foreign policy priorities,” said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor for strategic communications. “We see this as a very important opportunity for the administration to advance our agenda in Africa through the first lady’s visit.”
Students from area schools in historically disadvantaged Cape Town communities have been invited to attend a daylong “university immersion experience at the University of Cape Town to learn more about the college experience. Obama will deliver brief remarks to them at the end of the day and answer some of their questions. That same day, the first lady will visit the Cape Town Soccer Stadium and meet with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and organizations that work to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. She also will join local boys and girls on the field for soccer activities and drills.
Obama will end her trip in Botswana with a visit to the Baylor Children’s Clinic Center of Excellence’s Teen Club, which teaches teens leadership skills and encourages them to teach others about HIV/AIDS. She and club members will work on a service project at the site of a planned adolescent center. She also will meet with Botswana President Ian Khama. Before leaving the country on June 26, Obama will meet with U.S. embassy employees and their families and go on a safari with her family.
Check out BET.com for daily updates from the first lady's trip. Twitter users will be able to track updates about the first lady's experiences and interact with others who are following the trip with the hashtag #youngafrica.
(Photo: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)