Here’s the full transcript of Michelle’s Obama’s speech which she delivered this morning at the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto. It was moving, inspiring and perfectly delivered:
MRS. OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you so much. It is such a pleasure and an honor to be here with all of you today.
I want to start by thanking Graca Machel for that just gracious, kind introduction. It is overwhelming. And I want to thank her for her lifetime of service as a champion for women and children. And from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for all of the kindness and generosity that you have shown my family for our visit here. Thank you so much. (Applause.)
I am also honored to share the stage with another remarkable leader, Baleka Mbete. (Applause.) She has played a vital role in advancing equality and promoting development here in South Africa. Thank you to the both of you for joining us here for sharing this moment with all of us.
I also want to thank the Archbishop of Johannesburg for honoring us today with his presence.
And of course, I want to recognize our guests of honor –- these 76 extraordinary young women leaders from here in South Africa and across the continent. (Applause.)
These are young women transforming their communities and their countries, and let me tell you I am so impressed by all of them. I am so proud of everything they have achieved. Read More…
The day is almost over, and I’ve only just realised that it’s Ash Wednesday – the day Catholics, and some others, give up something for Lent. It’s the traditional 40-day period of fasting, prayer and penitence before Easter – that weekend we spend hunting for chocolate eggs in our gardens.
I was reminded about Lent because of this statement issued by Barack Obama:
Michelle and I join Christians here in America and around the world in observing Ash Wednesday. We mark this solemn day of repentance and promise, knowing that Lent is a time for millions to renew faith and also deepen a commitment to loving and serving one another.
Will he be giving up something? And what will it be? I’ve tried giving up chocolate – fairly easy for me, and then I tried giving up alcohol – a lot harder. This year I thought of giving up driving, but somehow I don’t think that’s possible. But ultimately, as a lapsed Catholic I feel let off the hook. I won’t give up anything.
Last night the White House held a state dinner – the biggest social event since Barack Obama’s inauguration. Obama reserved the glamour of his first state dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, in a bid to show his commitment to the world’s largest democracy reports AFP. More than 300 guests arrived including film director Steven Spielberg.
This pool report by the Politico reporters is worth a read. Firstly the excitement about the “fabulousness” of the various outfits is delightful. And the reported random uttering about one of the guests is too funny for words, if not a little a lot rude: Oh my god, a real housewife!
Pool Report: Read More…
More about those awards last night.
Most importantly Zimbabwean activists Magondonga Mahlangu and Jenni Williams were awarded the The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award this year. The two women representing Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were awarded for their courageous human rights activism in Zimbabwe. WOZA, says its website, creates space to allow Zimbabweans to articulate issues they may be too fearful to raise alone. It has conducted hundreds of protests since 2003 and over 3,000 women and men have spent time in police custody, many more than once and most for 48 hours or more.
And secondly after the American president presented the award to the two women he and Michelle Obama slipped out of the room prematurely, but seconds later they were sent back. Obama sheepishly said “I’m allowed to stay… I never know what I’m allowed to do.”
Remarks by Jenni Williams and Magondonga Mahlangu on receiving their awards last night: Read More…
The in-depth interview with Michelle and Barack Obama appears today in the New York Times magazine. The interview which is lovely and very personal seems to have raised some serious questions about whether Obama uses his family to divert attention from what is happening on Capitol Hill.
The Sunday Times of London today reports that the “enthusiasm for the Obama family has until now obliged most Republicans to bite their tongues when discussing Michelle and the children, but there were mutterings last week that the president might be using his enviable private life as a diversion from awkward political realities – notably the prospect this week of Democratic defeats in elections for state governors in New Jersey and Virginia.”
And rather harshly the article concludes by saying that Obama is in danger of being seen as a failing politician.
“And familiarity with the details of his private life may quickly turn to contempt.”
Children, work and marriage are hard enough for the rest of us. But being the first couple of the US must be extraordinary hard on romance.
In an interview with the New York Times, Obama expresses irritation about the hoo-ha when he took his wife to New York on a date.
“The notion that I just couldn’t take my wife out on a date without it being a political issue was not something I was happy with.”
And he says,
“Everything becomes political,” he repeated very slowly. Then he said: “What I value most about my marriage is that it is separate and apart from a lot of the silliness of Washington, and Michelle is not part of that silliness.”
Wondering how to find your own adoring Barack? In the December issue of US Glamour Michelle Obama offers her dating tips:
“Cute’s good. But cute only lasts for so long, and then it’s, ‘Who are you as a person?’ Don’t look at the bankbook or the title. Look at the heart. Look at the soul. When you’re dating a man, you should always feel good. … You shouldn’t be in a relationship with somebody who doesn’t make you completely happy and make you feel whole.”
Never mind her arms, have you ever wondered why Michelle Obama has such a good waist? It’s not the first time I’ve noticed the connection between a good waist and a hula hoop. In fact, I recently bought a bright yellow one, hoping to achieve a similar relationship between waist and hoop.
While my babies cavort around my garden, I have been practising my swivels. I have increased the number of swivels from one to two. Not bad. That’s a 100% increase in swivels. The children find this exercise hilarious. It’s not often they watch as a parent learns something from scratch.
But watching the pro on the hoop makes me feel ashamed. Here is a woman who did 142 swivels. That’s damn fine going.
Michelle Obama was at a healthy kids fair on the White House South Lawn promoting healthy eating and exercise for America’s children.
Here are Grace, Kara and Trichelle, the new black barbies. They have fuller lips, wider noses and more pronounced cheek bones than the first black Barbie – Christie was just a white doll painted brown. People have complained that the trios hair is too straight. Does it matter? A colleague once said, “I paid for it, it’s my hair.” That was about her braided hair. Should the same apply to women who straighten their hair?
The Telegraph reported that “With a black First Lady and two daughters providing new role models for the Barbie-buying population, the toy maker Mattel decided the time was right to re-examine the way the company caters for girls looking for an African-American doll.”
The time was right! WTF. Wasn’t the time right 50 years ago? And why has it been so difficult to buy black dolls in our world-class African city. I am not talking Barbies. I want black baby dolls. And where are the boy dolls? They should be everywhere.
(I’ve put the Chris Rock doccie on a new post.)
Frock Report said to listen to this fabulous song, Little Jackie’s Black Barbie.
Farmers do their thing: growing, tilling the soil, feeding us. And some do it organically. I like that. Huffington Post has found some seriously cute American organic farmers, including Michelle Obama: “we think organic farmers are heroes and rock stars. And nothing is sexier than someone who likes to get dirty AND supports the good food revolution.”
David Retsky here sells organic greens and veggies at 20 farmers markets.
I did a google search for someone similar here but alas it was a disappointing search.