The First Family Meets With Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg

The First Family Meets With Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg

First lady Michelle Obama and her family had a rare meeting with Nelson Mandela. Obama also met with embassy and South African officials and the wife of President Jacob Zuma.

Published June 21, 2011

First Lady Michelle Obama visited with Nelson Mandela Tuesday on her first full day in South Africa. The meeting, which was not originally on her itinerary, took place at the former South African president’s home in Johannesburg, near the foundation that bears his name. The Obama family had been viewing Mandela’s personal papers at the foundation, when he called to invite them to his home. He is rarely seen in public anymore due to his fragile health.


It was the first time the first lady and the former president had met in person. In 2005, Mandela met with then-Sen. Obama in Washington D.C., and the 92-year-old icon keeps on his desk a cellphone photo commemorating that meeting.


Obama, her mother, Marian Robinson, daughters Malia and Sasha, the first lady’s niece and nephew also toured the Apartheid Museum on Tuesday.


Earlier in the day Obama had a private meeting with Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, one of the three wives of South African President Jacob Zuma. In addition, she visited with South African leaders and employees of the U.S. embassy at the residence of U.S. Ambassador Donald Gips.


Nic Dawes, editor of South Africa’s Mail and Guardian newspaper, tweeted, “Michelle Obama certainly convinced the dignitaries that she is excited to be here and said her husband is ‘pouty’ that he isn’t.” Mandela presented Obama with an advance copy of his latest tome, Nelson Mandela By Himself: The Authorised Quotations Book.


Check out 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/ Debbie Yazbek, Nelson Mandela Foundation)

Written by Joyce Jones


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