REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY AT UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN YOUTH EVENT|University of Cape Town – Fuller Hall Cape Town, South Africa

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    Isn’t that hopeful?  Isn’t that good?  Isn’t that cool?  (Laughter.)

    So no matter what part of this world you come from, I said this yesterday, you can have an impact.  Right?  We saw that again and again with the folks in Mamphela’s generation.  They brought down apartheid, and in the years since they’ve made this country and they built it on a foundation of equality, freedom and democracy.  And now millions vote in free and fair elections.  The economy of this country is one of Africa’s largest.  It is the largest.  This country shined under the world’s spotlight at this year’s World Cup.

    And now, the rest of the world, including some of these people here, is looking to South Africa to be a leader in years and decades ahead.  And when we say we’re looking to South Africa, what we really mean is that we’re looking to all of you.  A lot of pressure, but you can handle it, because you guys are going to be the ones leading this nation in 10 years, in 20 years, in 30 years.  And you’re going to be the ones who show the world what kids from the Western Cape can do.

    So as you think about the years ahead, the goals you have for yourselves and the dreams you have for your country, I want you to know first and foremost that a lot of people believe in you.  I believe in you.  My husband believes in you.  There are so many people in my country who believe in you, because what we know is that when you succeed, we all succeed.  Right?

    So I am eager to hear more about you.  I know you’ve got some questions.  We’re going to talk.  Speak loud.  Don’t be shy.  Ignore them.  Just pretend like they’re not there.  (Laughter.)  And I am very proud of you, and I hope you had a wonderful day.

    So with that, let us begin.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

    DR. RAMPHELE:  This is such a wonderful day for us to welcome my younger sister.  She left these shores when she was a baby, and now today she’s come home.  And we are very proud to have my other sister here with us.  (Applause.)

    And you all heard how proud she is of you and what high expectations she’s got of you.  But I think you’re going to have greater fun because you’re going to put her on the spot.  (Laughter.)  You’re going to ask her questions.  Right?

    And I think we’re going to start with Zizipho.  Zizipho has got a question for you, Michelle, and I think we should listen.

    Q    Well, it is important for us to have people — to have adults to look up to.  Who is your role model, and why?

    MRS. OBAMA:  My role model honestly is my mother — who is with me.  And she always tells me, “Well, I didn’t do anything to help raise you.  You raised yourself.”  That’s not true.

    My mother is my role model because it’s amazing to watch a woman or any individual — if my father were alive, he would be among them — who is able to push their kids beyond anything they could have imagined for themselves.

    And my parents didn’t get to finish college.  They didn’t get to spend much time on their educations.  They went to work right away.  They had fears and limitations in their lives because of the times that they were born.

    But yet they never showed us that fear.  They never used that to limit us.  They never experienced wonderful universities.  They didn’t necessarily know how to direct us to be excellent.  But they figured it out, you know?

    And now that I’m a mother, I see how courageous and outstanding that was.  This is my mother’s first time in Africa.  She never traveled much herself.  She never thought of it.  But yet here she is, probably

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