President Obama approaching Presidential Palace in Senegal today. [Official photo by Pete Souza]

President Obama approaching Presidential Palace in Senegal today. [Official photo by Pete Souza]

THE HISTORIC presidential trip of Barack Obama to Africa, today leads him to Senegal. Seen through the lens of official White House photographer Pete Souza, who blasted these photos out over Twitter.

Obama’s trip to Africa comes as Nelson Mandela lies in critical condition, yesterday on a respirator, with the whole world readying for the passing of a great man whose life has meant so much to so many. Hoping that there will be a little more time for his life.

Coverage from the New York Times:

Speaking in Dakar on Thursday, President Obama called Mr. Mandela a “hero for the world,” news reports said as concern persisted in South Africa about his well-being. After meeting government leaders here, Mr. Obama is set to to travel to South Africa on Friday on the second stage of his three-nation foray to the continent.

Late Wednesday, even as Mr. Obama arrived here from Washington, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa announced that he was canceling a one-day trip to neighboring Mozambique because of Mr. Mandela’s condition.

But President Zuma said in a statement on Thursday that, while Mr. Mandela was still critically ill, he had improved overnight and his condition was now stable.

President Obama’s journey to Africa will reach back into earlier times when Africa struggled against slavery and white domination, represented in planned visits to the island shrines of Gorée Island near Dakar, considered by some a symbol of the slave trade, and Robben Island off Cape Town, South Africa, where Mr. Mandela, along with other political prisoners, spent much of a 27-year imprisonment that ended in 1990.

Press conference in Senegal today. [Official photo by Pete Souza]

Press conference in Senegal today. [Official photo by Pete Souza]

First Family met at airport in Senegal. [Official photo by Pete Souza]

First Family met at airport in Senegal. [Official photo by Pete Souza]