And so ends Michelle Obama’s wildly successful trip to South Africa. Sunday, First Lady Michelle Obama left Botswana with her daughters, two cousins and her mother in tow. Certainly, the highlight of the trip was her visit with the ailing Nelson Mandela.
Changing Tense Relations
While America and South Africa have often had tense relations – Michelle Obama swept in to change all that. The people in the region love her and see her as a symbol of the possibilities that are, hopefully, open to them as well.As the Sunday Independent paper declared,
“Michelle Obama brings out the best in southern Africa.”
While in Botswana, the First Lady met with President Ian Khama, painted a mural with AIDS orphans and then stopped at a roadside village restaurant in front of stunned villagers and got something to eat.
Obama spent much of her press time drawing parallels between the South African struggle for racial equality and the American civil rights movement. She also touched on her own struggles growing up economically underprivileged and compared these challenges to the problems facing African women.As Obama said many times,
“Success is not about where you come from or how much money your family has. Success is about how passionately you believe in your own potential and more importantly how hard you’re willing to work to achieve it.”
She encouraged young people to see the future as theirs and to take control of their destiny. As she said in a speech in Soweto on Wednesday, “All of you, the young people of this continent, you are the heirs of that blood, sweat, sacrifice and love” of those who had fought for freedom and democracy. So the question today is, what will you make of that inheritance?”