The First Lady's Trip to Africa

The First Lady's Trip to Africa Blog

  • Travels with the First Lady: A Remarkable Journey in Africa

    Watch the video about the First Lady's Trip to Africa here.

    As we set out for Africa we knew we were in for a remarkable journey. We knew we would visit historical and sacred sites, and meet with inspirational leaders. And while these events were truly extraordinary, the moments that defined the trip were those we shared with young people who are shaping their countries in Africa, and organizations that are working to strengthen communities. I want to highlight some of the amazing organizations we visited, and share some of the stories behind the events you saw unfold.

  • The First Lady's Trip: Service Projects in South Africa & Botswana

    The First Lady just returned from her week-long trip to Africa where she focused on youth leadership, education, health, and wellness. We are so excited to show you two more videos from her trip. The first, from Nanga Vhuthilo Community Center, in Soweto, South Africa where the First Lady joined with participants from the Young African Women Leaders Forum for a service project. The second from Baylor Center in Botswana to participate in a service project at the local teen center dedicated to combating HIV/AIDS in the community.

    On Board: First Lady Michelle Obama Visits Nanga Vhuthilo Community Center

    Download Video: mp4 (79.9MB)

    On Board: First Lady Michelle Obama Visits Baylor Center

    Download Video: mp4 (62.9MB)

  • "Obama Ye-Le-Le": First Lady Michelle Obama Arrives in Botswana

    This morning, First Lady Michelle Obama arrived in Botswana -- the second leg of her week-long trip to Africa focused on youth leadership, education, health and wellness. Mrs. Obama received a warm welcome by children who clapped, danced, and sang "Obama Ye-Le-Le".

    Watch the video of the First Lady's arrival in Botswana here.

  • Push-ups with the Archbishop and More of Cape Town with the First Lady

    On Thursday, June 23 the First Lady spent the day in Cape Town, South Africa — where she toured a local museum, talked with students at the University of Cape Town, and met with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

    Because of inclement weather the First Lady was unable to visit Robben Island, and while we were all hoping to see this historic prison we were fortunate to visit the District Six Museum instead. The museum offers insight into the racial segregation during the 1970s, chronicles Cape Town's complex history, and celebrates the diverse culture of the area. After touring the exhibits, the First Lady and her family met with Ahmed Kathrada, an anti-apartheid icon and former Member of Parliament, who brought to life many of the exhibits and illuminated what life during apartheid was like for those striving for freedom. Mr. Kathrada’s story was so inspiring, and all of us were touched by his courage and determination to strengthen his country.

    The First Lady then visited the University of Cape Town where she spoke with high school students from nearby townships. She talked with them about the importance of working hard in school, knowing they each have the ability to achieve their dreams, and how each of us is connected. She said, “I can see the same promise in all of you as I do in my own girls. That's what keeps me motivated. When I see you, I see them.  When I see them, I see you.  And I see it in the students that I’ve met all across my country in America, and in all of the young men and women I see as I travel around the world.”

    Later in the afternoon, the First Lady and her family met with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Mrs. Obama was briefed on HIV/AIDS education, prevention, and support programs. The briefing included a discussion on how grassroots organizations use soccer as a convening mechanism, to draw young people together to learn about making healthy choices. At Cape Town Stadium, Mrs. Obama and Archbishop Tutu spoke with young people about this, and the importance of staying healthy. They then got everyone up and moving by participating in soccer skill stations, and the First Lady and Archbishop Tutu even did push-ups together!

    Watch the video of the First Lady and Archbishop Tutu doing push-ups here.

    As we continue this journey, we are all continually inspired by the spirit and energy of the young Africans we are meeting with and we are looking forward to what tomorrow brings.

    Kristina Schake is Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady.

  • "The Most Moving Part of My Trip So Far": The First Lady on Meeting Nelson Mandela in South Africa

    During a breakout session with participants in the Young African Women Leaders Forum, First Lady Michelle Obama discussed an inspiring visit with 92-year-old Former South African President Nelson Mandela and offers some advice to the young leaders.

    Watch the First Lady's full remarks here.

  • In Soweto with First Lady Michelle Obama: A Day of Memory, Inspiration, Friendship

    Watch the First Lady's full remarks here.

    The First Lady and her family spent Wednesday, June 22 in Soweto, Johannesburg -- the sprawling South African township of over a million, once home to such giants as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu and scene of so many dramatic events of the struggle against apartheid -- including those that occurred at Regina Mundi church, where the First Lady gave the keynote address at the US-sponsored Young African Womens Leaders Forum. Regina Mundi, like Soweto itself, was the beating heart of the anti-apartheid movement, a place where those involved in the struggle gathered to find faith, build support and makes plans to free their country. On June 16, 1976, 35 years ago this month, as Soweto's youth came together to demonstrate against apartheid laws, police opened fire, killing some, wounding others, and leaving bullet holes in the walls of sacred Regina Mundi, where a group of students sought refuge. That day, now called Youth Day in South Africa, galvanized the anti-apartheid movement and international awareness of the struggle.