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Barack and Michelle Speak with Mandela Family, Visit Goree Island

President Obama and First Lady talk to Nelson Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, on the phone in South Africa [Official White House photo by Pete Souza]

President Obama and First Lady talk to Nelson Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, on the phone in South Africa [Official White House photo by Pete Souza]

AS THE world sends meditations and prayers out to Nelson Mandela, on their trip to the African continent President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama spoke with the Mandela family by phone. On Friday the Obamas visited Goree Island.

Obama released this statement via the pool report after speaking to the Mandela family:

Today I had the privilege of meeting with members of the Mandela family at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa, and spoke by telephone with Mrs. Graça Machel, who remained by her husband’s side in the hospital in Pretoria. I expressed my hope that Madiba draws peace and comfort from the time that he is spending with loved ones, and also expressed my heartfelt support for the entire family as they work through this difficult time. I also reaffirmed the profound impact that his legacy has had in building a free South Africa, and in inspiring people around the world – including me. That’s a legacy that we must all honor in our own lives, including this July on Mandela Day. – President Barack Obama

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as their daughters, also visited Goree Island, the place where Africans were held before being shipped across the Atlantic to their destination of a life in slavery. He called his visit to this haunting place a “powerful moment.” One can only imagine.

The photos below on Goree Island are chilling. The “door of no return” having an extreme meaning when you think back on the barbarity of the world and the role a new country called America played in this horror.

President Obama looks out prison cell window on Goree Island [Official White House photo by Pete Souza]

President Obama looks out prison cell window on Goree Island [Official White House photo by Pete Souza]

Reverse angle of the President and First Lady in the Door of No Return on Goree Island, Senegal [Official White House Photo by Pete Souza]

Reverse angle of the President and First Lady in the Door of No Return on Goree Island, Senegal [Official White House Photo by Pete Souza]

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