zandspruit, south africa

First lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia visit the Emthonjeni Community Center in Zandspruit Township, Johannesburg, June 21

Marian Robinson, mother of first lady Michelle Obama, takes a bow after dancing with children during a visit to the Emthonjeni Community Center

Michelle Obama and her daughters reading The Cat in the Hat to children at Emthonjeni Community Center

51 Responses to “zandspruit, south africa”

  1. 1 gc
    June 21, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I would bet BHO misses them like crazy, but feels such incredible pride in this family of his as well.

    Thank you for the wonderful pics, they give ME a feeling of pride too 🙂

    June 21, 2011 at 10:58 am


  3. 3 P
    June 21, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Awww I feel sorry for those kids :(. I always get teary eyes when I see little babies in poverty. Wish I could take all the poor babies around the world and gave them a proper education, food, clothing, shelter and love! I know Mrs Obama is alot of fun so those kids are probably having a ball!!! Look at Mrs O clowning around lmao she is too much yes! Thanks again Chips!

      June 21, 2011 at 11:03 am


    • 5 isonprize
      June 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      P. Im curious, what makes you say that they are in poverty? They don’t have the newest clothes, but just from these pictures, they look pretty healthy to me.

      • 6 Jessica
        June 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm

        These pics were taken at Zandspruit Township. SA townships have a very high poverty level because of years of oppression by the white SA government.

        Here is some links


      • 7 EDP4BHO
        June 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm

        As per P and Sue, you are lovely women, but it’s important to be careful of assuming these vibrant and healthy children are poor and/or needy of a home. From what I can see, this is a community center. Is it a daycare, or an orpahnage? Do we know? It is a grave mistake to deem every African child is in need of our help. Also, I can’t really see what I am typing so I hope my words are correct.

        • 8 P
          June 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm

          OMG I am now seeing this….I never said every African child or people are in need of help! I know Africa is a rich nation where there is alot of development which are not broadcasted on the media! But from my research the area is not so much a wealthy one. Therefore the fact that these children are in a community centre learning means that someone is showing an interest in the future of these children. Let’s however not try and hide the history of these people and the grave injustice they have been done which is clearly still in existence today! Thanks for posting that video and links Jessica. I myself like to do alot of historical research on places like this! I am glad Mrs Obama has visited these children..hopefully it will bring some light to the problems still being faced today by Africans. EDP4BHPO in case you were wondering no I am not one of those who believe Africa is a place of deserts and huts..yes I know there is cities just as everywhere else and proper education available right there….and that there is poverty in America, England and alot of so called first world nations! Sorry if my comment was not worded too clearly.

          • 9 EDP4BHO
            June 21, 2011 at 8:57 pm

            Hey, P, sorry if I offended you, although I think you explained yourself quite well. No problem. Thanks for the reply, but I was also kind of chiming in on what isonprize stated. We do know how the continent is widely portrayed, and it does us all to inform ourselves about all continents. I have yet to visit Africa, it’s my main goal before I pass on. I do feel however that even with knowledge of modernity in a good portion of Africa, Americans especially are a little patronizing. I appreciate your clarity. And your heart 😀

            • 10 P
              June 21, 2011 at 10:11 pm

              Oh no honey you didn’t offend me :). I just wanted to clear my name from people who think Africa is just a entire continent of poverty, disease and corruption! But hey I was doing some internet research and found this wondeful video: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/06/21/michelle.obama.women.leaders/index.html?hpt=hp_mid
              Those precious young ones are already being assisted by a wondeful, kind hearted woman Brendah Nyakudya, who is got to meet Mrs Obama. See there are still good people out there. Hope those kids have a bright future! Aye we share the same goal EDP4BHO…I want to go to Africa sooooo bad! I must see the pyramids and the wonderful historical pieces there. From what I’ve seen and heard from people who visited it’s a place you need to visit. Fingers crossed let’s hope our goal come through 😀

          • 12 isonprize
            June 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm

            P. Thanks for the link. Very enlightening. And thanks for your clarification. It added a dimension that isn’t always clear from initial comments.

            THIS is why I love this site. LOVE, LOVE, LURVE the Obama Diary site!!! Thanks, Chica, for keeping us informed re: PBO. Do you see what you have done??? Good stuff here. VERY good stuff.

    June 21, 2011 at 11:01 am


    • 15 Andogriff
      June 21, 2011 at 11:17 am

      That’s very sad, Sue. It is never easy to visit people who are gravely ill, best wishes for his recovery.

    • 16 P
      June 21, 2011 at 11:24 am

      I wish you luck with that and hope the young man has a speedy recovery! All the best Sue…you are a very kind person 🙂

    • June 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      Sue Duvall Smith, how nice of you to go visit this person. Alot of people wouldn’t go see someone like that, some will say he is getting what he deserve, but God will be the judge. It is nice of you to go see this man, who knows you could be the very one to lead him to Christ. I pray the Lord will give you strength. Take care. With your prayer and care, we know there is nothing to hard for God.

    • 20 Sue in Minnesota
      June 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm

      As you conduct your visit, think to yourself what would love do now….you are a vessel for that loving spirit. And in reality prayer is sometimes both the most and the best that we can do. Hope your day goes well.

    June 21, 2011 at 11:04 am


  6. 22 Me4obama
    June 21, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Effortless for Mrs. O. I love that those children are having fun with our first family.

  7. June 21, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Another coal plant closing down bc of EPA greenhouse gas rules. Don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret!:


  8. June 21, 2011 at 11:29 am

    5 weeks ago the national average price of gas was at 3.99/gallon.

    It is now 3.63/gallon!

    That is pretty significant!

  9. 25 dotster
    June 21, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Adorable little kids with the always warm and energetic Michelle.

  10. 26 Debz
    June 21, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Such beautiful children. I often wonder what Michelle’s mom must be thinking, meeting Mandela, the Queen of England, traveling to all of these countries. It’s a long way from the working class south side.

  11. 27 Fred
    June 21, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I really love the picture of the First Lady and that little girl 😀

    thank you Chip )

  12. 28 Jessica
    June 21, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I wonder how tall Leslie is? 5’11 or 6’0. It’s nice they got to go.

    Look at Sasha, MIchelle, and First Granny grooving. Malia of course the reserved one.

  13. 29 Sue in Minnesota
    June 21, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Picture #4….I feel as if I’ld died and gone to heaven….those sweet angel faces have me in tears!

    Love Michelle’s haircut…..our girls look like they are having a ball!

  14. 31 Titti
    June 21, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Awwwww great to see everyone getting into it and ‘showing their motion’ – brings back memories. They appear to be having a whale of a time – even grandma is ‘putting her back’ into it much to Leslie’s amusement.

    • 32 isonprize
      June 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      Okay, what did I miss? I always recognize Mrs. Robinson. But who is Leslie?

      • 33 Jessica
        June 21, 2011 at 12:43 pm

        Michelle Obama’s niece (she’s 15 going on 16). Craig’s daughter. Avery,19, is her brother. Sh’es in gray sweater and white shirt.

        • 34 isonprize
          June 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm

          Wow. Very cool. Mrs. Robinson gets to visit South Africa with her daughter and her grandchildren!! How cool is that?? Wonder if she’s looking to adopt? 8)

  15. 35 Tally
    June 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    These photos are so AMAZING!!!! I am so jealous I’m not there with them!!!

    • 36 utaustinliberal
      June 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      Me too Tally. Me too. I love that she’s been wearing variations of African prints with her outfit. She’s so culturally aware. Everyone looks great and I’m happy that they’re having a ball while spreading the values of education, community service, friendship, being health conscious and disease conscious and youth activism.

  16. 37 Dakota
    June 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Look at those precious babies!!!

  17. 38 P
    June 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Well now we know where Michelle got her move from….Grandma is bringing the house done 🙂 love it!!!! I love the pic with Malia….all the children including Sasha is hugging her. Seems like her huggable qualities is just like her momma! Beautiful updates. Can’t wait for the videos to start hitting youtube!

    • June 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      The pictures are so so so so so nice. I see Grandma Robinson cutting a rug too. This is so wonderful. What a First Lady we have. President Obama I thank you for having the smarts to marry that woman. The best thing you ever done.

      • June 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm

        All I can say is I have a smile on my face as I look at those pictures. They are so wonderful. I am a proud American. The First Lady looks great, and the girls looks good too. And those S. Africa kids are so precious too.

      • 41 P
        June 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm

        Yes. I think the President knows it. What wonderful women this man is surrounded by..:)

    • 42 Sue in Minnesota
      June 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      The spirit reflected in that picture is absolutely beautiful and pure. It’s iconic.

      I’ld imagine there will be a whole lot of hugging going on. How could you possibly resist their beautiful , vibrant faces.

      We should all be concerned and work toward ending poverty. We should care about opportunity and economies, but more importantly I believe, we need to let those that suffer under the weight of poverty be reassured that they are seen, that we care, and despite economic circumstances, we honor their dignity and our shared humanity.

  18. 43 HZ
    June 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I am so grateful that we can be connected to our beautiful First Lady through this beautiful trip. We know she is spreading so much love throughout her trip. I just love to see children having fun in their lives. It is beautiful to share this moment. I love that she read to them as well. We are so blessed to have our beautiful First Lady sharing our love. Thanks Chipsticks for these beautiful moments..

  19. 44 CEB
    June 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Go Grandma!

    So nice to see Mrs. Robinson involved and enjoying herself on this trip. How wonderful it must be for her to be there and sharing this experience with her daughter and 4 grandkids. I would like to learn more about her and h ow she raised 2 remarkable children.

  20. 46 PoliticalJunkessa
    June 21, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Go ahead, Mrs. Robinson! I see you! 😀

  21. 47 Puddin
    June 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    These pictures are making me cry….tears of joy, tears of sadness, tears of proudness…lots of tears! I am so proud of the First Family…they are truly representin” (as the young folks say)…how wonderful it is to see this Black family (desendents of Africans and Slaves) returning home to the Mother Land. Those precious beautiful children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tears, lots of tears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 48 Sue in Minnesota
      June 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm

      Hugs to you Puddin.

      Tears, I love my tears…they both wash away sorrow and pour out sunshine when joy overfills my heart. I find it really difficult not to cry in the face of true beauty….I think that’s why President and Michelle so easily and so often tug on my tear ducts.

      I hope that there is video of some of their events……I was impressed with the coverage of the arrival. I appreciated the simple and clear presentation of the event..American journalists should take note.

  22. 49 Karen Sr.
    June 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I was on my lunch break when i first saw this post. I couldn’t stop studying the expressions on the children in that very first picture. Have you ever seen such sweetness and innocence? They are wide eyed with wonder. It’s what I miss most about not having small children around. You get to see the world anew through their eyes.

    This site has become one of my obsessions. Thanks to all.

  23. 50 GGail
    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    These photos are fabulous! I love that look that FLOTUS has on her face as her mother is taking a bow. That must be a trademark look – I gave it to my Mom and my kids give it to me when I “bust a move” LOL!!!!!!

  24. 51 Betty's Girl
    June 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Thanks Chips for the wonderful photos! Mrs. Robinson is stealing the show for me. Please let there be video of her dancing. I find Malia so adorable. She exudes kindness and confidence.

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