South Africa: Michelle Obama and daughters meet Nelson Mandela (VIDEO)


US first lady Michelle Obama holds a bouquet of flowers as daughters Malia and Sasha, are draped in blankets given to them upon landing in Pretoria en route to Johannesburg, South Africa, as they begin their week long trip to Africa on June 20, 2011.



JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Michelle Obama, her daughters Malia and Sasha and mother Marian Robinson met Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, on the first full day of a trip that will also take them to Botswana.

The U.S. first lady visited Nelson Mandela’s charity foundation in Johannesburg, where they also met members of the Mandela family, including his wife Graca Machel, the former first lady of Mozambique.

While the group was on a tour of Mandela’s personal papers, the prisoner-turned-president send word that he would like to meet the Obama family, White House officials told the Associated Press. The meeting between the Obama family and Nelson Mandela took place at his home, which is located near his foundation in Johannesburg's tony Houghton neighborhood.

(From GlobalPost in South Africa: Michelle Obama’s solo Africa tour)

U.S. President Barack Obama, who is not on this trip, met Nelson Mandela in 2006 when he toured Africa.

It was Michelle Obama's first meeting with Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for his role in the struggle against apartheid. After his release from prison in 1990, he went on to become South Africa’s first democratically elected president.

Mandela, who turns 93 in July, has been largely out of public view in the past year. In January, he was hospitalized for an acute respiratory infection.

The U.S. first lady will next visit the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. On Wednesday she will give the keynote address at a conference of the Young African Women Leaders Forum, at Regina Mundi Church in the black township of Soweto.

Her trip will also include a meeting with Nobel Peace Prize-winner Desmond Tutu in Cape Town, a visit to a center in Botswana that teaches teenagers about leadership and HIV/AIDS, and a private safari with her family.