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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    if you’re not ready to invest in something bigger than yourself, if you’re selfish, you’re never successful.  So be a good person.  And be prepared.  Okay?

    DR. RAMPHELE:  Well, I think you have started very well, all of you here, by preparing.  Being here is already the beginning of success.

    We’re going to hear from Mogamat Nur Marcus from Spine School.

    Q    What advice can you give the youth today?  What advice of a practical nature can you give the youth today in order to achieve their dreams?

    MRS. OBAMA:  What advice to achieve your dreams?  It’s similar to what I said in my comments:  preparation and being able to envision your dreams.

    What the Chancellor and I talked about is that if there are kids who never see a place like this, and if you don’t even know that it exists, and there are many kids all over the world who don’t even know this is possible, then how can you expect kids to work for it?

    Kids rise to the bar they’re given, and if the bar is low, what else can they do?  So being able to raise your bar and envision your dreams is the beginning of it.  And you all are blessed with people who are investing in that.

    So now the next question is how do you pass that on?  Because we have to multiply the advantages that some kids get, because not every kid in this country is getting that.  So how do we multiply that?  How can you be a part of expanding the vision of other kids in your lives, in your sphere of influence?  How do you share this experience with other kids so that they can know, you know — UCT, wow, that’s a phenomenal place, and college is something that you should aspire to, and let me — let’s talk about the stories, let’s talk about what’s possible.  I mean, you can be doing that now at your age with kids that are younger.

    And that’s how it builds, you know?  I mean, that’s really why I do what I do, not as First Lady, but I feel like I have a responsibility to multiply what I have, because I come from a background where I know there are kids just as talented as me from my neighborhood.  They were just as smart.  They had just as much potential.  There’s no way that I’m better than them.  I just got — I had a chance to see a vision that they didn’t.

    So I can’t be content that somehow I’m First Lady, this means something, I did something special.  No.  I work hard.  But I was lucky.  I was blessed.  I was fortunate, as well.

    So how do I pass that on, because this isn’t — there shouldn’t be a space that’s limited.  We’re not competing with each other.  We want to bring more people in, right?

    DR. RAMPHELE:  Great.  Now you are all going to be the multipliers of success.  So we are going to have great success.

    Ngcokomfi Buhlali?  You are from Sophumelela School.  Great.

    Q    Okay, I would like to know that — how is the relationship between U.S.A. and South Africa, in terms of education?

    MRS. OBAMA:  The relationship?  You know, first of all, I think the relationship between our two countries generally is strong because we share such a common history.  But I think that there’s greater exchange

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