News / Africa

    US First Lady Meets Archbishop Tutu and Cape Town Youth

    First lady Michelle Obama meets with Archbishop Desmond Tutu at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, June 23, 2011.
    First lady Michelle Obama meets with Archbishop Desmond Tutu at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, June 23, 2011.
    Nadia Samie

    U.S. first lady Michelle Obama continued her South African trip by meeting South African anti-apartheid cleric Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  They visited Cape Town Stadium, which was built for the FIFA Football World Cup last year, and met with community development workers and excited youth to kick around a soccer ball.

    Mrs. Obama had a busy day in Cape Town, starting with a visit to the District Six Museum, which commemorates the struggle of mixed race individuals who were forcibly removed from their homes under the apartheid regime.  She culminated the day's events with a visit to Cape Town Stadium, where she met with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, a host of community development workers, and young children.

    Mrs. Obama urged the youth to look after their health, because their future depended on it. "You have got to have the knowledge and the internal wisdom to take care of yourself and make good choices, to be sure that you are healthy.  Because it is hard to have an impact if you are not in the best condition possible," she said.

    Meanwhile, Archbishop Tutu jokingly explained to the children they were in the presence of a very important person. "This is the first lady of the USA.  That means, you can be anything you want to be ... know that you are the best thing that God ever created," Tutu said.

    Mrs. Obama told the excited youth the solution to a better life rested with them. "If you all figure this out, and you are able to reach solutions, able to ask for help and pass down information, that is how we fix this problem.  You can stop the trend and start a new road to better information, but you can have fun doing it!," she said.

    At that point the soccer balls came out, and the first lady and the archbishop showed the youth their sporting skills.

    Mrs. Obama was originally scheduled to visit the apartheid prison Robben Island, where former President Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for many years, but the trip was cancelled due to heavy rains in the city.  

    Earlier in the day, Mrs. Obama met with local education officials and high school students at the University of Cape Town.  Next, the U.S. first lady, her two daughters and her mother travel to Botswana, the last stop on the African visit.

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