Michelle Obama to Visit South Africa and Botswana

465

First lady Michelle Obama will travel to Africa during the week of June 20 as part of an ongoing effort to promote youth leadership, education, health and wellness.

During her trip, scheduled from June 20 to June 26, the First Lady will travel to Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town in South Africa and Gaborone, Botswana.

The trip is the next step in the first lady’s continued work to connect with and encourage academic excellence and service among young people, particularly young women. Obama has traveled throughout the United States, Mexico, South America and the United Kingdom mentoring students and delivering her message on the importance of education and service.

Joining Obama on the trip are her mother, Marian Robinson, her daughters, Malia and Sasha, and her niece and nephew, Leslie and Avery Robinson.

According to a schedule released by the White House, the First Lady will meet with several United States Consulate and Embassy employees and their families, as well as South African leaders and Graca Machel, Former First Lady of Mozambique and wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Although a meeting with President Mandela is not on the schedule, the first lady will attend a wide range of engagements with the Mandela Foundation.

“She [Obama] of course would treasure any opportunity to interact with President Mandela, but I think it depends on his ability to receive visitors,” said Ben Rhodes, White House Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications. “I will say that President Obama has really much enjoyed the ability to check in from time to time with President Mandela—they’ve spoken on the phone several times while he’s been in office—and we of course always have him in our thoughts and prayers here, and are hoping for his good health and well-being.”

As part of her program of promoting health and wellness, Obama will make several visits to health clinics and organizations to discuss several health issues, especially the fight against HIV/AIDS in South Africa and Botswana.

“I think that HIV/AIDS was seen as a key point in both of these stops in Botswana and in South Africa,” said Mary Yates, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs. “It underscores the importance this Administration puts on HIV/AIDS.”

According to a White House statement, the First Lady’s visit to Africa highlights the interest that the United States has in the African countries and people.”