The First Family Visits Cape Town Museum

The First Family Visits Cape Town Museum

The first family's visit to Robben Island was canceled due to bad weather, so they toured the District Six Museum instead with another anti-apartied legend, Ahmed Kathrada, who was at Robben Island with Nelson Mandella.

Published June 23, 2011

Michelle Obama and Ahmed Kathrada. (Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

Thursday began on a bit of a disappointing note for first lady Michelle Obama. She and her family were scheduled to tour Robben Island, where former South African president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. But high winds and rough waters forced them to cancel the tour, which was to be led by Ahmed Kathrada, a former political prisoner and a former member of Parliament, who served time at Robben Island while Mandela was there.


Plan B was a tour of the District Six Museum in Cape Town. The district was established in the 1870s as a racially mixed area before it was forcibly segregated in the 1970s. Exhibits included photos of family life before apartheid and hopscotch markings on the ground that Sasha jumped in when she saw them. As they toured the museum, the first lady encouraged her children and niece and nephew to take advantage of the rare opportunity to engage in a real conversation with Kathrada, who shared his story with them.


The next stop will be the University of Cape Town, where the first lady is scheduled to meet with students from historically disadvantaged neighborhoods who are spending the day at the university to learn more about higher education opportunities.


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.

Written by Joyce Jones


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