Obama uncertain about visit with Nelson Mandela

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June 28, 2013, 8:38 am
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(NECN/NBC News: Tracie Potts) - President Obama will be within miles of South Africa's first black president on Friday when he arrives in South Africa, but it's unclear if the two will meet.

President Obama starts this day in Senegal, talking with farmers about using new technology to deal with the terrible drought in West Africa. From there, he heads south.

President Obama arrives in South Africa this morning after touring historic Goree Island - the center of slave trade for centuries.

Thursday night, he reflected on looking out the door of no return.

"It also I think reminds us of how vigilant we have to be in upholding the dignity and the rights of all people," said President Barack Obama.

It is still unclear whether President Obama will visit the ailing former South African President, Nelson Mandela.

The White House has said that's up to Mandela's family.

On the streets of Johannesburg, there's mixed opinion about this visit.

"Coming to South Africa at the time the gentleman is ill, and a man so revered nationally and internationally, will I think be a very good thing," said Johannesburg Resident, Kayode Adeluola.

"I think he should maybe respect what's actually happening and taking place in the country, because no-one can really focus on his visit right now," said Johannesburg Resident, Thabissa.

In Senegal, the President called Mandela a hero.

"He's a personal hero, but I don't think I'm unique in that regard. I think he's a hero for the world, said President Barack Obama.

First lady Michelle Obama urged African schoolchildren to be inspired by Mandela's struggle.

"If President Mandela could hold tight to his vision for his country's future during the 27 years he spent in prison, then surely, you all can hold tight to your hopes for your own future," said First Lady Michelle Obama.

Tags: Nelson Mandela, President Barack Obama, Johannesburg, South Africa, Tracie Potts, NBC News
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