Michelle Obama Reflects on Apartheid

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Throughout first lady Michelle Obama's trip to Africa, The Root will be running selected press pool reports.



Cape Town, South Africa — Before the District 6 museum visit, FLOTUS met with local Embassy officials at her hotel on the waterfront. At the museum she and her family took a leisurely hourlong tour through the museum, where they saw a map of the community. Tour guides described the forced segregation that occurred after 1966 when District 6 was declared a "White Group Area." Tour guides were Bonita Bennett, director; Noor Ebrahim, ex-resident and storyteller; Prof. Crain Soudien, chair of the museum's board of trustees and deputy vice chancellor at the University of Cape Town.

After touring the exhibits, she and her family (mom, daughters, niece and nephew) sat down with Ahmed Kathrada, former political prisoner on Robben Island and anti-apartheid icon; also a former member of Parliament. Michelle Obama drew her children and niece and nephew into the conversation as Kathrada told them his story.

The exhibits they viewed included photos of family life before apartheid was enforced and what appeared to be a replica of an old beauty salon. At another exhibit, there were hopscotch markings on the ground that Sasha jumped in.

After the museum visit, crowds gathered awaiting the family. One woman had a peach T-shirt with an outline of the African continent on the front that she wanted to give Obama.

The family stopped at the Kitchen, a two-year-old café in the Woodstock neighborhood. Owner Karen Dudley described it to Obama as part of a revitalization in the neighborhood. Food is fresh and organic. Dudley showed the family an array of salads and sandwiches.


"So it's all healthy," Obama said, smiling.

"I'm sure they will want sandwiches," she said of the children.

Next stop: University of Cape Town.