U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and her family paid their respects on Tuesday to Nelson Mandela during a private visit at the home of the former South African President and revered statesman.

It was the first meeting, and likely a moving one, between America's first African-American First Lady and the political prisoner who later became his country's first elected African-origin President.

Ms. Obama, daughters Malia (12) and Sasha (10) and her mother Marian Robinson were being shown some of Mr. Mandela's personal papers during a stop at his foundation when, according to White House officials, he sent word from his nearby home that he wanted to meet the Obamas. The family was then driven to Mr. Mandela's home in a Johannesburg neighbourhood, where they spent about 20 minutes with him and his wife, Graca Machel, who is a former First Lady of Mozambique.

Goodwill visit

Ms. Obama began a weeklong goodwill visit to South Africa and Botswana on Monday. — AP

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