- The Washington Times
Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Visiting first lady Michelle Obama met with former South African President Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, in a rare public appearance for the 92-year-old legend in the fight against apartheid.

The meeting took place at Mr. Mandela’s home in Johannesburg as part of the first lady’s weeklong trip to South Africa and Botswana. Mrs. Obama was accompanied by her mother, Marian Robinson, and daughters Malia, 12, and Sasha, 10.

Mr. Mandela, who was president from 1994 to 1999, was hospitalized in January with a lung infection and rarely has been seen in public lately. His wife, Graca Machel, the former first lady of Mozambique, also attended the meeting.

Aides to the first lady said Mr. Mandela, who spent decades in solitary confinement for his role in his country’s political struggle, keeps a cellphone photograph on his wall of his meeting in Washington in 2005 with then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Also traveling with Mrs. Obama are her nephew, Avery Robinson, 19, and niece, Leslie Robinson, 15. The first lady is participating in events to emphasize the importance of education and youth leadership in Africa.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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