Is this any way to treat the Queen of America?
(Telegraph) — South Africa President Jacob Zuma has snubbed the visiting Michelle Obama by sending his prisons minister to meet the first lady at the airport and failing to see her during her three-day stay.
Mr Zuma was out of the country for the first day of Mrs Obama’s second solo trip abroad on Tuesday and although he returned on Monday night, aides said he was “not available” to meet her.
Instead, he arranged for Corrective Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to greet her on her arrival in Pretoria on Monday night, and one of his three wives, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, to meet her briefly on Tuesday.
Mrs Obama, her daughters Sasha and Malia and her mother Marian Robinson, were also granted a rare audience with 92-year-old former president Nelson Mandela at his Johannesburg home.
It was Mrs Obama’s first encounter with the global icon, although her husband Barack Obama met him when still a senator on a 2006 Africa tour. Mrs Obama’s aides revealed that a mobile phone photograph taken of that meeting now hangs in Mr Mandela’s office.
When Mrs Obama made her first solo trip, to Mexico, she was guest of honour at a state dinner hosted by President Calderón and his wife.