Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Michelle Obama drops in on Mandela

US first lady Michelle Obama and her family have paid their respects to Nelson Mandela during a private visit at the home of the former South African president and revered statesman.

It was the first meeting between America's first black first lady and the political prisoner who later became his country's first elected black president.

Mrs Obama, daughters Malia, 12, and Sasha, 10, and her mother, Marian Robinson, were being shown some of Mandela's personal papers during a stop at his foundation when he sent word from his nearby home that he wanted to meet them.

The family was then driven to Mandela's home where they spent about 20 minutes with him and his wife, Graca Machel, who is a former first lady of Mozambique.

Mr Mandela, who stepped down in 1999 after serving one term as president, is rarely seen in public anymore. At age 92, he is in fragile health and was briefly hospitalised in January with an acute respiratory infection. But he apparently felt well enough to invite the Obama family to visit.

Mrs Obama is travelling without President Barack Obama, who met Mr Mandela on a previous visit to Africa when he was a US senator.

Mr Mandela spent 27 years in prison for his role in the movement against apartheid.


From Belfast Telegraph