Follow the First Lady's Trip
First Lady Michelle Obama is traveling to Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town, South Africa and Gaborone, Botswana for an official visit to Africa. Her trip, from June 20 – 26, will focus on youth leadership, education, health and wellness.
Through past visits to Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, India, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, Mrs. Obama has worked to engage young people, especially girls and young women, at home and abroad. The trip is a continuation of Mrs. Obama’s work -- from mentoring students in the United States and encouraging them to gain international experience, to encouraging young people to excel academically, serve, and lead, Mrs. Obama has delivered these messages all over the world.
The First Lady's Itinerary
First Lady Michelle Obama is arriving at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria, South Africa. After meeting with President Jacob Zuma's wife Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma at the capital, Mrs. Obama will visit the Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. Mrs. Obama is meeting with the former First Lady of Mozambique and wife of President Mandela, who will be able to give her a tour of the foundation and President Mandela's archives.
Later in the day, Mrs. Obama is visiting a daycare center in Johannesburg, and is ending her day with a tour of the Apartheid Museum, a testament to the inspirational progress that South Africa has made.
In the morning, Mrs. Obama is traveling to the Regina Mundi Church in the Soweto township, where she delivers the keynote address to a U.S.-sponsored Young African Women Leaders Forum. Forum participants include young women from across sub-Saharan Africa who are leading or involved in social and economic initiatives in their own countries.
The Regina Mundi Church, where the Forum is taking place, holds particular historical significance for the people of South Africa and the Soweto community. Political gatherings were banned during the anti-apartheid movement, and churches became hubs for activity. During the Soweto student uprising of June 16, 1976, a number of young people sought cover in the Regina Mundi Church where they were followed by police and fired upon. Students like twelve year-old Hector Pieterson were shot and killed by apartheid government police, galvanizing international pressure on the apartheid regime. The church remains a national symbol of the struggle.
After delivering the keynote, Mrs. Obama is visiting the Hector Pieterson Memorial. The Memorial displays an iconic news photograph of Hector’s body being carried through the streets of Soweto, his distraught sister running along-side him. The date Hector was killed, June 16th, 1976, has been commemorated as Youth Day in South Africa, and this year June has been declared Youth Month.
In the afternoon, the Young Leaders will participate in breakout sessions to build and foster networks among one another, and discuss the issues that are important to them. The First Lady will visit several of the breakout sessions, before joining fourm participants in a community service project at a local community center. An event that is in line with the First Lady’s focus on service around the world and the importance of young people serving their communities in the United States and abroad.
Mrs. Obama begins the day in Cape Town, thanking United States Consulate employees and their families for their service.
Then, the First Lady is visiting Robben Island – where former President Nelson Mandela was held for 18 of his 27 imprisoned years.
As a continuation of her commitment to engaging young people, supporting educational opportunities and promoting youth mentoring, Mrs. Obama is inviting students from area schools in historically disadvantaged communities, for a day-long university “immersion experience” at the University of Cape Town. The University of Cape Town is providing the students with campus tours, discussions with University students and exposure to studying on campus. The students are attending a full day of activities at the University of Cape Town, concluding with remarks delivered by the First Lady.
Mrs. Obama is completing her day with a visit to the Cape Town Soccer Stadium, site of the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches. There she is meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Mrs. Obama is meeting with organizations dedicated to combating HIV/AIDS in South Africa, including using soccer as a means to convene and educate South African children about HIV/AIDS.
After the meeting, Mrs. Obama is joining girls and boys from the Cape Town area, including its townships, on the soccer field for activities and drills.
The First Lady is visiting the Botswana Baylor Children’s Clinic Center of Excellence’s Teen Club. Teen Club was assembled to teach leadership among teens and encourage young people to teach others HIV/AIDS education. Mrs. Obama joins Teen Club members in a service project at the site for the planned Botswana Baylor Adolescent Center.
Mrs. Obama is beginning her day by thanking U.S. Embassy employees and their families. Following this event, Mrs. Obama and her family are departing for a family safari.
Mrs. Obama and her family are departing Gaborone, Botswana at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.