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President Barack Obama began the first day of a weeklong trip to the Motherland. The commander in chief and the first family landed in Senegal late Wednesday (June 26).

The timing of the president’s trip inadvertently coincides with the ailing health of Nelson Mandela. The former South African leader is allegedly on life support, but communicated a “smile” after hearing about Obama’s forthcoming arrival.

Touching down in Dakar, Senegal yesterday, the POTUS praised Mandela as a “hero for the world.”

While in Senegal, Obama’s will highlight the West African nation’s democratic culture, which he called “one of the most stable in Africa,” during an arrival ceremony today. Also on the president’s Senegal agenda is meeting with judicial leaders and touring the Maison Des Esclaves slave house museum.

He will end Thursday (June 27) with an official dinner with President Macky Sall of Senegal.

Obama heads to South Africa Saturday (June 29), but it not expected to meet with the 94-year-old anti-Apartheid figure.

See photos from Senegal below.


Photos: NYT/Reuters/Instagram

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