Former President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea Clinton are in South Africa on a 10-day humanitarian trip, where aides say they plan to visit the family of ailing anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela.
Hospitalized since June 8, Mandela remains in stable but critical critical. Mandela, a civil rights icon and South Africa’s first black president, is suffering lung problems stemming from a lifetime struggle with tuberculosis, which he contracted during his more than two decades of internment as a political prisoner.
The Clintons will meet privately with Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, aides said, and do not plan to meet with Mandela. The two men served as leaders of their nations at the same time and maintained a close relationship, having met a number of times.
The Clintons are in Africa touring humanitarian initiatives in five countries on behalf of their newly-renamed Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. This is the final stop on their itinerary.
Both Clintons spoke on a panel in Pretoria Wednesday night at a conference held jointly by the Clinton Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, a non-profit group affiliated with the anti-apartheid icon, focusing on a range of issues including the scourge of HIV/AIDS, poverty, and gender equality.
Chelsea Clinton signaled in a TODAY show interview earlier this year that she will be taking her place in the public sphere after years of attempting to lead a private life.
“Right now I’m grateful to live in a city, in a state and a country where I strongly support my mayor, my governor, my president, my senators and my representative,” she said. “If at some point that weren’t true and I thought I could make a meaningful and measurably greater impact, I’d have to ask and answer that question.”