JOHANNESBURG June 21, 2011— -- First lady Michelle Obama visited Nelson Mandela on the first day of her trip to South Africa today and told one greeter that her husband was "pouty" that he couldn't come along.
The first lady's weeklong trip to South Africa and Botswana began with a meeting with one of the three wives of South African President Jacob Zuma. During her stop at the president's official residence in Pretoria she was greeted by Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma.
Nic Dawes, the editor of South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper, tweeted that he shook the first lady's hand and wrote: "Michelle Obama certainly convinced the dignitaries she is excited to be here, and said her husband is 'pouty' that he isn't."
The president is in Washinton where his schedule includes meetings with Treasury Secretary Geithner, HHS Secretary Sebelius and Defense Secretary Robert Gates as he prepares for Wednesday's announcement on the size of troops withdrawals from Afghanistan.
Michelle Obama was accompanied by her daughters Malia and Sasha, her mother Marian Robinson and the first lady's niece and nephew during a visit to the Mandelas in Houghton.Michelle Obama meets Nelson Mandela are latest photos in Obama travel photo album
Mandela, 92, met in 2006 with President Obama in 2006 when Obama was an Illinois senator. Now that he is the country's first black president, a cellphone photo of the meeting is now framed in Mandela's office, aides to the first lady said.
The Obamas met with Mandela and his wife, Graca Machel and then toured the apartheid museum. It was the first time Mrs. Obama had met Mandela.
During a visit earlier in the day to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg, Michelle Obama was given an advance copy of the soon to be released book "Nelson Mandela By Himself: The Authorised Quotations Book."
Verne Harris, the the head of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, showed the first lady a display of archival items including prison desk calendars, notebooks and draft letters.
Michelle Obama and her daughter Malia teamed up later at the Emthonjeni community center in a settlement called Zandspruit to read "The Cat in the Hat" to a preschool class. Malia read the part of the fish in the story while her mother read the part of the cat.
The Obamas were joined on the trip by their nephew Avery Robinson, 19, and niece, Leslie Robinson, 15.
The Obamas will be in Botswana on Friday.