17 Responses to “the first lady’s johannesburg speech”


  1. 2 P
    June 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    The First Lady is very emotionally strong because I would have been weeping after such a kind introduction by Mrs Machel. Thanks Chips :)!

  2. 3 Bobfr
    June 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Oh Chipsticks, that segment at about 10 min when they sing to greet her!!! WOW!!!

    Overwhelmed …

  3. 8 Rose
    June 23, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks so much, Chipsticks! I was hoping to see this and can only say through tear-filled eyes, “WOW”. My heart is so filled with pride. Just love our First Lady and President!

  4. 9 northanger
    June 23, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Thank you so much Chips for posting this important speech by FLOTUS. Here’s a link to the text: Remarks by The First Lady during Keynote Address at Young African Women Leaders Forum

  5. 10 MTmarilyn
    June 23, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    What a speech and introduction. Tears flow so easily. That was just beautiful. What were they singing?

  6. 11 cuphalffull
    June 23, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Oh, that was soooo inspiring. Thank you for posting this.

  7. June 23, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I tell you the Choir was amazing, wowwwww such harmony, sweet harmony. I found myself just tearing uncontrollably. The Introduction made me tear, and just watching FLOTUS accepting the kind Introduction so gracefully, but yet sincerely, I teared again. Flotus, that was a dynamic speech filled with encouragement, and admiration. Just Beautiful, just hearing about these women and their struggles, was just a reminder to me, how blessed we are, It was humbling. Thank you so much Chips, I just love this community that you created, It’s home for me, thank you Chips :D

  8. 14 northanger
    June 23, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    I transcribed Graça Machel’s inspiring introduction (apologies for any errors) & thank Mrs. Obama for introducing me to an amazing woman:

    Good morning. I have today the immense pleasure of introducing to you Mrs. Michelle Obama, who will be coming soon to address you, the First Lady of the United States of America. I’d like to address Michelle first. It was 35 years ago this month on the 16th of June ’76, that young people here in Soweto sought the refuge from a brutal backlash from the apartheid regime in response to their demands for quality education. Both before and after this Soweto uprisings, Regina Mundi has become a place which welcomes those who are struggling for liberation, for people of all races and backgrounds, and seeking a higher degree of justice. Justice for women’s equality in every sector of society, justice for the poor, for children, and marginalized groups.

    Regina Mundi is a symbol of resilience, triumph against adversity, and young people’s capacity to galvanize change. Regina Mundi remains a heart for the community, and many who have met — and continue to meet — within its walls, are connecting the struggles of the past, the struggles of our times, and the triumphs of the future.

    Your presence Michelle, among us today, has a symbolism. You may have been a toddler when ’76 uprising took place. Now, in your adulthood, you come to us and you connect that history, and to say “the triumphs of yesterday have to be the triumphs of today”, and you are empowering young women to continue the struggle. So I see a chain from the ’76 to today and the young generation of women leaders who are being empowered here today, and you are mentoring them. As a world-renown leader working to address challenges you have observed, such as childhood obesity in the United States, Regina Mundi welcomes you and hopes that within these walls you will draw renewed strength and encouragement as you continue to address the issues that will pave the way towards a brighter future for all. A future that holds the promises of economic, social, and political freedom. Regina Mundi’s name in Latin means “Queen of the World”, and we are welcoming you as a daughter of African heritage, and we can call you ‘the queen of our world”.

    Young leaders, Mrs. Obama’s visit marks the culmination of a program of young African women leaders who range in age from 16 to 30 years. This program has brought together young leaders from across Africa to start a conversation, establish a support network, and generate ongoing mentorship. The young African women leaders gathered here will also look at ways to respond to the challenge that we face on our continent such as health, quality education, HIV/AIDS, and entrepreneurship for development of our communities.

    So to you, young women leaders, as you seek solutions to these challenges, you have before you an inspiration in Mrs. Obama. From a relatively modest start in life she has risen to become one of the undisputed leaders of our century. It is not the environment you are born in, or the background that determines your potential, but the choices you make and your determination to succeed.

    Michelle, as a professional, she has pioneered and chartered her own course in life. As a partner, she stands shoulder to shoulder with President Barack Obama, yet she stands on her own with causes of her choice. As a mother, she ensures that she continues to be there for Malia and Sasha, building in them the foundation for successful adulthood. Michelle, redefines womanhood in the 21st century — the modern woman. She doesn’t sacrifice her career, she doesn’t sacrifice motherhood, she doesn’t sacrifice her marriage. She is a feminist by practice without shouting slogans. With immense grace she has successfully demonstrated that these roles are not in conflict. On the contrary, they are in perfect harmony and they make a woman a whole. She is a global citizen representing values men and women feel identified with and they feel encouraged to emulate.

    Mrs. Obama is undeniably one of the most powerful women in the world. Yet she remains accessible and relates to all with the same elegance and simplicity: from the ordinary to the extraordinary, to the young and old, people of all social strata. As a leader she illustrates very clearly that you can be powerful — very powerful indeed — without being aloof, without imposing, and without being aggressive. And being a global leader of African heritage, we take pride that you reclaim our own humanity, the humanity of all people of African heritage.

    We are privileged to have here in our midst, the First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Obama, as well as her mother, Mrs. Robinson, and her two daughters, Malia and Sasha. These generations of women, firmly grounded in the knowledge of their past, forging new paths in the present, and laying a strong foundation for the future. In these amazing women we have an inspiration of [multiple generations in beautiful harmony]. And we welcome you Mrs. Robinson, Sasha and Malia, wherever you are — can’t see you from here — we are glad to have you.

    And now, back to my young leaders. You too should know and draw from the wisdom and richness of your past as you build your future. Grasp all opportunities, make them become possibilities. Run your race with confidence and pride, knowing that the sky is the limit.

    It is my privilege with these words, and my immense pleasure, to introduce to you one of the beautiful daughters of our times, one of the most inspiring leaders of the world today who has already traced the path of what it is to be a woman of modern times, of our 21st century… Mrs. Michelle Obama.

  9. 17 HZ
    June 23, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Tears flowing from a heart of gratefulness. Thank you Chipsticks for this posting of the entire speech. WOW.

    T True Gracefulness

    E Embodiment of wisdom and inspiration for service

    A Affirmation of goodness and hope and a vision for a generation of young people

    R Reservior of intellect gracefully shared with beautiful minds

    S Sacredness of respect to a people with great dreams to a path of greatness


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