Friday, 24 June 2011 15:47

Michelle Obama tours South Africa

Written by Sethekele Ncube and administrator
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama allAfrica.com/Andre van Wyk

Michelle Obama Does Push-Ups With Archbishop Tutu in SA

U.S First Lady Michelle Obama ended her week-long visit to South Africa by meeting the Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu - and getting a bit of a workout. They visited the famous Cape Town Stadium in which some of the 2010 World Cup games were played, where the First Lady encouraged young people to protect themselves against HIV/Aids and use sport to stay healthy.

Earlier U.S First Lady Michelle Obama visited the former President Nelson Mandela and his wife lady Graca Machel, the former Mozambican first lady at their home in Houghton. She also visited Mandela’s charitable foundation and Emthonjeni Community Center in Zandspruit Township, Johannesburg.

"You are VS - very special people," said Tutu in his cheery voice soon after he stepped into the room filled with young people and the media. He encouraged the youth to reach for the stars so that they can be anything they want to be in life.The First Lady began her speech by joking with the Archbishop: "You are also a special person". Obama backed Tutu's words by telling them that one has to be a "VHP" - very healthy person - to inspire very special people.

US First Lady Michelle Obama and her childrenwith Nelson Mandela, at this home, in Houghton SA.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama does push-ups with Archbishop Desmond Tutu as they participate in youth activities raising awareness for HIV prevention, at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama does push-ups with Archbishop Desmond Tutu   photo:Reuters

Then she participated in the sporting activities. She dribbled the ball and did push-ups on the floor beside with the Arch while the children cheerfully shouted out president Obama's famous election slogan, "Yes we can!" Former Bafana Bafana soccer star Mathew Booth was also present at the function. He said he was invited by the group Grassroots Soccer to take part in the project that educates, inspires and mobilizes the youth through soccer. "Meeting both Desmond Tutu and Michelle Obama is beyond what words can explain," he said.

Associate Press reported, "Michelle Obama kicked soccer balls Thursday with former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and flexed her biceps doing push-ups alongside him as she closed out a goodwill visit to South Africa and prepared to head for neighboring Botswana. She also visited a museum that documents the forced segregation of a once racially mixed area of this coastal city. Obama and family members traveling with her, including daughters Malia and Sasha, met Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and a leader in South Africa's fight for racial equality, at the new Cape Town Stadium where the World Cup soccer tournament was held last year. She also received briefings from several HIV/AIDS prevention organizations,including some that use the discipline of soccer to teach kids about the disease.

In remarks before the soccer drills and calisthenics, the first lady urged dozens of kids to make safe, healthy choices. HIV/AIDS is a serious challenge to South Africa, where between 5 million and 6 million live with the disease in a country of just under 50 million. An estimated 17 percent of adult South Africans are infected.

"It's hard to have an impact if you're not in the best condition possible," she said. Her morning visit to the District Six Museum replaced a long-planned ferry ride to Robben Island that was canceled at the last minute due to high winds that made the Atlantic Ocean waters too treacherous to cross."

 

Last modified on Friday, 24 June 2011 16:00