South Africa Gives First Lady Royal Treatment

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(New York Times) — Graça Machel, the wife of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, took the pulpit of the Regina Mundi church here on Wednesday to introduce Michelle Obama, the wife of America’s first black president.  “We welcome you as a daughter of African heritage, and we can call you the queen of our world,” said Ms. Machel, an advocate for women and children, noting that Regina Mundi means queen of the world in Latin.  The prickly ambivalence that South Africans often show toward the United States, which is often perceived here as an overbearing superpower, seems to have been suspended for Mrs. Obama. South Africans have embraced her with stirring emotion since she arrived on Monday, and she has been hugging them back, one by one, stop after stop.  Both the choreography of her appearances, and the nationally broadcast speech she gave here on Wednesday, have evoked the commonalities between the freedom struggles of black people in South Africa and the United States — an approach that has resonated with South Africans.

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